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Nata Chief fears buffaloes may have brought FMD

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Kgosi Rebagamang Rancholo of Nata has a nagging fear that the marauding buffaloes may have infected cattle in his and surrounding villages such as Manxotae and Sepako with the foot and mouth disease virus.

There are however no clinical signs of the disease in the said places. At the peak of the dry season which ended only a few weeks ago hundreds of wild animals, especially buffaloes, lions and elephants invaded the Nata and neighbouring villages in search of water.

The wild animals drank water from the village dams and other sources of water where they freely mingled with local cattle herds. Too weak and dehydrated, some of the wild animals got stuck in the mud in the villages and died. Kgosi Rancholo is concerned that nothing has been done to properly dispose of the carcases which are littering the environment including the water holes.

Some of the carcases, according to him are inside the streams, rivers, dams and ponds which the rains have filled with water and from which the domestic animals are drinking.

“The fact of the matter is that, even during the dry season, whenever the Department of Wildlife, filled the water holes with water for the desperate wild animals, it seems no effort was made even to remove the carcasses from the waterholes before recharging the waterholes with water. What happened is that the cattle were made to drink from the same sources of water with a buffalo carcass inside,” said the kgosi.

The traditional leader, said he would blame no one but the Department of Wildlife should the foot and mouth disease strike in his area, argues that his community deserves better. African buffaloes are known to be one of the main transmitters of the virus to livestock making it difficult to eradicate the disease.

Transmission from the African buffalo has been reduced by separating cattle from buffaloes by the use of fences. In the case of Nata, people fear that with most of the buffaloes coming from Zimbabwe where the management of animal diseases leaves much to be desired, the risks of the disease being re-introduced in Nata are high. Apparently, the disease was last seen in Nata in 1976.

When reached for comment, the Principal Wildlife Officer, Mbututu Mbututu did not rule out the possibility of the buffaloes having infected the cattle with the FMD virus.

“We cannot rule that out. It is possible since they mingled. As we speak, the people from the Veterinary Department are on the ground studying and observing the situation. Part of their mandate is to ensure that the wild animals do not return to the village or cattle posts where they mingle with the cattle. To achieve this, we are busy rehabilitating the borehole outside the village for the wild animals,” said Mbututu.

Asked about the carcasses which are reportedly littering Nata and surrounding villages, he said those will be collected and burnt in January next year.

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BMC secures beef market in Seychelles

Dikarabo Ramadubu

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Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) will soon start to sell its beef to the Island of Seychelles. Not only will they sell frozen raw meat, but will also send corned beef for trial in the Island.

All this is thanks to last week’s visit by President Mokgweetsi Masisi who included in his delegation executive management of the BMC, led by Chief Executive Officer, Dr Akolang Tombale.
The agreement signed between BMC and two leading Seychelles companies, will see BMC exporting at least 48 tonnes of raw beef to the island possibly from October. The names of the two companies that BMC signed an agreement with are Seychelles Trading Company which is a quasi-government organisation, and Rosebelle Company which is privately owned.

Although both have agreed to trade with each other, BMC cannot start immediately, as they have to wait for the green light from Seychelles companies who still have to apply for import permits in accordance with the law of their republic.

Speaking to The Midweek Sun, Tombale expressed gratitude that they managed to get good business in Seychelles through the assistance of President Masisi. “We are ready to export any time from now. As you know Seychelles is an island surrounded by mountains and cannot produce much if not anything. “They therefore depend much on imports even from as far as Brazil and Europe. Their economy is driven by tourism and they do not differ much with the European market in terms of the demand for beef as most tourists come from Europe and United States.”

Dr. Tombale said they agreed with the two companies that since “we are not sure about the logistics we will start by selling 24tonnes to each company per month, meaning we will be supplying the Island with a total of 48 tonnes per month. The idea is to start small and grow bigger as the people get used to our beef.” BMC has also negotiated to sell small stock meat to Seychelles and successfully negotiated for local chicken farmers to start selling their range chicken to Seychelles as well.

According to Tombale, he negotiated the deal after being approached by local chicken farmers amongst them Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Balete, who requested that “we should try to find a market for chicken farmers as we go around the world searching for the beef market.” Tombale revealed that for a start both range chickens and small stock will not be supplied in tonnes or large quantities as they will be sold on a trial basis.

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G-west community reunion-walk a resounding success

Keletso Thobega

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Multitudes turned up for the Mosengwaketsi community walk and braai session this past Saturday in Gaborone West. The walk was held in the morning and was preceded by football games and a braai session that went on until late in the evening.

According to the event director Tshenolo Palai, the aim of the community day event was to revive community spirit and address crime and social ills. “The Mosengwaketsi community reunion will be held not only to create a platform to build unity but also address the social ill of passion killings,” he said.

Palai said that they had also invited health stakeholders for a wellness segment because they had realised that there are many health related conditions that affect the quality of people’s lives hence they had joined forces with religious organisations, the business community, neighbourhood outreach policing and other stakeholders in the area to encourage a culture of unity and create dialogue between all the parties.

He noted that they had wanted to create a relaxed environment conducive for different people to engage and strengthen their networks. He said they were also concerned with the high rate of crimes of passion in Botswana and also wanted to create a platform for both men and women to open up on issues that affect them because most people tend to be more relaxed in a social setting.

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