MASUNGA: The restocking exercise in the North East District that followed Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks in 2011 and 2013 has been completed, Mmegi has learnt.
District chairperson, Florah Mpetsane told the ongoing full council meeting in Masunga that a total of 28,213 cattle and 16,760 goats had been returned to the district and only 55 dairy cattle still remained to be purchased and distributed to affected farmers.
Mpetsane said government had decided to compensate all farmers before the end of February 2015. To date 546 cattle have been handed over to 337 farmers as part of the restocking exercise. Meanwhile, Mpetsane said the new Botswana Animal Identification and Trackback System (BAITS) would be rolled out to districts by March throughout the country. The system is government’s central plan to avoid the spread of FMD and minimise its impact on beef exports. She said that all necessary information on the new system would be availed by the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We hope that the system will also assist in addressing the rampant cattle theft experienced in previous years in the country,” she said. Briefing the council on the farming season, Mpetsane said while the ploughing season had started late, all eligible farmers had received seeds under the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development. She said 5,800 bags of sorghum, 300 bags of maize and 3,750 bags of millet were received as seeds during the season.
“We also received 3,900 cowpeas which benefited 3,349 farmers and they were also assisted with coupons to speed up seed acquisition,” she said. The district also received 900 bags of fertilizers that were distributed to 35 beneficiaries while another 4,096 bags were acquired through coupons for 525 beneficiaries.
“People in the district ploughed their fields even though there was insufficient rainfall,” she said.
Thus far, 872 farmers in the North East District have ploughed a total of 3,543.8 hectares of land in 2014, which is lower than 17,000 hectares of land in 2013.
Mpetsane said that hundreds of chickens in the North East died from Newcastle disease in the last quarter of the year.