Veterinary experts from the European Union (EU) are expected in the country anytime in October this year to inspect the reconstruction of a cordon fence along the Botswana-Zimbabwe border line.
The government took a deliberate decision to create a protection zone in order to block the ever spilling of the virulent Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) from the neighboring Zimbabwe into the country. Border villages have been under threat. And in 2011, the border villages experienced one of the worst FMD outbreaks that resulted in the country being suspended from selling its beef to the lucrative EU market. The beef industry that used to be the second highest contributor towards the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after diamonds suffered a major blow.
Government had to take the costly decision to reconstruct the cordon fence along the border with Zimbabwe in a desperate bid to completely eradicate FMD in the border villages, following fears that another outbreak could occur. “Our district is prone to FMD outbreaks,” Flora Mpetsane, the North East District (NED) Council chairperson said last Thursday in her speech for the third ordinary session of the district council.
She said there is an ongoing protection zone cordon fence reconstruction from Ramokgwebana to Sindichwa (Maitengwe) which covers a distance of 180km as there are always threats of FMD outbreak especially along the border. “The protection zone would be inspected by the European Union in October 2015,” revealed Mpetsane, adding that it is critical that the project is completed within a short period of time for the benefit of the country.
Meanwhile, Mpetsane said the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) is working tirelessly to ensure that all the FMD controls are in place. She said measures to be applied are intensification of border cordon fence patrols and vigilance along the borderline. Mpetsane said the project started on April 1 2015. The project follows realignment of the former containment zone fence line where a new fence line has been built from Dikgatlhong Dam to Vakaranga, she said. To date, only 12km of the fence has been constructed.