Cattle farmers in Botswana, one of Africa’s top beef exporters to the European Union, have welcomed renewed beef exports to Europe.
The move followed a two-month ban that followed an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and the culling of thousands of cows.
Botswana officials on Monday said the August outbreak near the border with Zimbabwe has been brought under control, although a ban on cattle from the area remains in place.
Due to tough restrictions, beef exports to the European Union had been suspended because of the outbreak in August.
But farmers like Bathusi Letlhare who spoke to VOA said they are now relieved following Monday’s announcement of the partial lifting of the ban.
Lethlhare added, “It is a welcome development because the EU is one of the main markets for our beef. They pay good prices, and this, in turn, benefits farmers a lot. It is always bad when we have an FMD outbreak and the market has to be closed”.
Botswana’s Acting Director of veterinary services, Kefentse Motshegwa said strict export requirements will be followed. This includes placing cattle in holdings approved for EU export for a period of 40 days before slaughter.
But beef exports will only be allowed from seven of the country’s 19 agricultural zones.