$1b fencing to curb foot-and-mouth

Ndamu Sandu

THE Department of Veterinary Services has bought fences valued at $1billion to be erected around national parks and wildlife areas to curb the spread of foot-and-mouth disease, the department&#82

17;s director, Welbourne Madzima, said.


Madzima said the fences would curb the movement of wild animals, particularly buffalo, a major carrier of foot-and-mouth disease.


Madzima said the department was allocated $10,2 billion in the 2005 budget to rehabilitate the fences.


“The money will be used to rehabilitate fences around Gonarezhou National Park in Masvingo and Chizarira to Sanyati in the Midlands Province,” he said.


He said in the 2004 budget the department was allocated $3,4 billion to purchase fencing material.


“Fencing material was sent to Matabeleland North province. More than 100km of fence has been rehabilitated between Lutope and Fatima in Lupane and work is in progress between Fatima and the border between Hwange and Tsholotsho,” Madzima said.


Madzima said the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease affected Zimbabwe’s exports to the European Union.


Zimbabwe volunteered the ban on exports to the EU in 2001 following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth because of the uncontrolled movement of animals during the land occupations on commercial farms and national parks and conservancies.


He said the national cattle herd was expected to grow by at least 12% from a figure of 5,3 million in 2003.


Madzima said his department was working round the clock to ensure that Zimbabwe meets international requirements for beef exports, which could result in the resumption of meat exports to the EU.


Zimbabwe was earning US$38 million annually from beef exports to the European Union.


Zimbabwe has a beef export quota of 9 100 tonnes per year to the EU under the “beef and veal protocol” of the Lome IV Convention, while Botswana has a quota of 18 916 tonnes. Other African countries that export beef to the EU are Kenya (142 tonnes), Madagascar (7 579 tonnes), Swaziland (3 363 tonnes) and Namibia (13 000 tonnes).


Zimbabwe can take up its quota once it controls the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. Beef exports mostly to Europe contributed 4% to the country’s total foreign currency earnings before the ban.


Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has submitted a proposal for the export of deboned beef to Malaysia.


The proposal was sent in January following a visit by officials from Malaysia in December last year. The Malaysians visited abattoirs throughout the country.


Madzima said Malaysia was still considering the proposal.