- Botwsana's beef production could suffer a major setback as government is forced to close down major abbartoirs and ban movement of cattle and other cloven-hoofed animals after reports of foot and mouth disease in the country.
Country's department of veterinary services said it is now investigating a possible outbreak of foot and mouth at Kuke in Ghanzi District after five cattle showed symptoms associated with the disease.
Test results of five cattle suspected are expected later this week, while government authorities are taking no chances, to stop further spread of the disease, following reports that some farmers continued to smuggle products even after ban.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an acute, highly contagious viral infection that inflicts cloven-hoofed animals and can spread over great distances with movement of infected animals, products, objects and people.
Local media reports said outbreak threatens operations of Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) as its facilities in Francistown and Lobatse have also been closed with immediate effect. Botswana had already lost on this year's production according to BMC's report, because of drought, having to slaughter three times more than ussual.
State officials, who have also sought military and police intervention in their search have said if the area is found to be infected seriously, all animals would be killed to avert further spread to other parts of the country.
Botswana, one of southern Africa's biggest exporters of beef, together with Namibia, to EU market, is said to have already budgetted over $3 million in March this year for vaccination against foot and mouth.
Meanwhile, in Namibia, state department today announced ban of all Botswana beef products to be transported through Namibian territory in an attempt to further block any chances of disease spreading there.
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