FRANCISTOWN: The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) expects to finalise the compensation process for farmers whose cattle were culled to control the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Zone 6 (b) between January and February next year.
Agriculture Ministry’s public relations officer in the North East District, Kelebogile Mosarwe mentioned on Friday that only a few farmers are yet to be compensated.
“Following the compensation of farmers, the MoA will start the process of restocking cattle in Zone 6 (b),” Mosarwe added. The FMD outbreak was identified after clinical tests on cattle at Zone 6(b) on August 22, 2023, prompted by an observant farmer at Butale village in Tsamaya extension area who noticed suspicious signs in his cattle which tested positive.
In September 2022, the government decided to depopulate the area and compensate farmers for approximately 10,000 FMD-infected cattle in Zone 6b. Initially, the MoA set a compensation fee at P2,840 per beast, regardless of the cattle breed, but later increased it to P3,000 following complaints by farmers.
Additionally, the majority of the proceeds from meat sales will go to the farmers, with the government retaining only the funds used for transporting cattle from affected areas to the abattoir. Some Zone 6b farmers expressed dissatisfaction with the compensation amount, considering it very low compared to the value of some of their cattle breeds.
Previously, Mosarwe informed MmegiOnline that the MoA had relocated all remaining calves in Zone 6 (b) to Zone 3a in the Chobe District for sale. Zone 3a is a Red Zone, indicating it is an FMD-prone area. "After we have translocated all the calves to Zone 3a, we will conduct another FMD surveillance in Zone 6b on sheep, goats, pigs, and wild animals,” Mosarwe stated.
"We plan to do so six weeks after the relocation of the calves to ascertain if all remaining animals in the zone susceptible to FMD have it or not. We anticipate completing the relocation process by Independence Day or by mid-October, barring any unforeseen circumstances," he added.