FMD control strategy to be reviewed

Officials from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security welcomed new measures to strengthen FMD controls and highlighted the beef sector’s importance to the economy
Officials from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security welcomed new measures to strengthen FMD controls and highlighted the beef sector’s importance to the economy

This week the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) set a process in motion to review its current Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control strategy.

The aim of the arrangement was to take stock of what has been achieved to date since the last review in 2012 and then to align it with current scientific knowledge and international best practices as espoused in the standards provided by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). This will form the basis of managing the Foot and Mouth Disease over the short, medium and long-term perspectives. Officials from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security (MoA) welcomed new measures to strengthen FMD controls and highlighted the beef sector’s importance to the economy with regards to rural income along with export potential. “I am very pleased to see the European Union Economic Partnership Agreement Support Programme supporting the review of the Foot and Mouth Disease Control Strategy, which was last reviewed in 2012.

I am most grateful to the Department of Veterinary Services for setting this very important process in motion,” said Director for Department of International Trade, Lesedi Kgotlele. “The livestock sector is important to the economy of this country both in terms of exports and the rural livelihoods. The beef sector in particular has suffered major setbacks due to FMD outbreaks particularly in the red zones. Any measures therefore, to strengthen FMD controls in Botswana are most welcome as they will contribute to the viability of the sector and allow for increased internal trade as well as exports from both our green and red zones.” An esteemed panel of nine key experts drawn from the DVS, the Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI) as well as the OIE gathered in Gaborone for the proceedings and will map out the framework for developing this strategy.

The strategy is recognised as an important organ in ensuring the integrity of the green zones and avoiding any disruption of accessing the EU Market. Speaking on behalf of the EU Delegation in Botswana, Tebogo Matlhare said they were very delighted to see that the implementation of the EPA’s National Action Plan is gaining momentum. “The EU is committed to supporting development in Botswana and the SADC region. The EPA’s Support Programme in Botswana identifies eight areas requiring action for Botswana to make the most out of the duty free and quota free market access and flexible Rules of Origin offered under the EPA.” He further noted that the EU and the government of Botswana have recently agreed to a project to support the EPA’s implementation, with a budget of €6 million.


The project is implemented by a consortium led by GOPA Worldwide Consultants, the company that has brought a team of high-level experts led by Colm Halloran, to be in residency in Botswana for three years. The key function of the DVS is to provide animal and public health services to achieve a sustainable and competitive livestock industry, through prevention and control of important animal diseases. FMD has a profound negative impact on farmers’ livelihoods especially with regards to movement and marketing of cloven-hoofed animals including their products, within the country and for export.

Deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Tiny Diswai said the FMD challenge in the North Western part of Botswana, recurring outbreaks in neighbouring countries and the need to maintain and expand FMD free zones, has necessitated this review process. “This review is done in the context of evolving disease trends, applicability of commodity-based trade and compartmentalisation. As we gather here today, my colleagues at the ministry are expected to come up with new measures to strengthen our existing control measures.

This underscores the importance that our ministry places, on the livestock sector,” she further revealed. The event was supported by the EU funded Support Programme to the EPA Implementation Plan in Botswana. The EPA Support Programme is providing technical support to the DVS in consolidating the integrity of the FMD free zone for export to the EU, the UK and other countries.

It also aims to unlock trade activities for animal products from the red zones of Botswana. The EPA Support Programme has a total budget of €6 million (BWP78 million) from the 11th European Development Fund.

Editor's Comment
Everyone should be on high alert

Close to half a million people in the country have been fully vaccinated while over 800,000 have received their first doses. Botswana has tackled tough hurdles, but the race is far from over.Batswana are gearing up for the holidays and there will be a lot of movement across the country and outside the country. Social gatherings are back in full force and now more than ever, people should observe COVID-19 protocols.Our neighbouring country South...

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