Serowe — Central District Council deputy chairperson, Mr Ketswereng Galeragwe says the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has accepted Botswana's request for the disease status of Nata to change from Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) intensive surveillance to FMD free without vaccination.
Officially opening the third Central District's Council session recently, Mr Galeragwe said an application was to be submitted to the European Union for cattle from the central zone to reach their market, adding that the disease status for veterinary disease control Zone 7 had not changed from FMD intensive surveillance zone.
"An ear-tagging campaign last year April has not yielded desirable results. Out of a total of 108 159 tags that had been issued to 6 245 farmers, only 80 705 tags, which makes 75 per cent have been inserted," he said.
He noted that 27 184 ear tags or 25 per cent were still with farmers, adding that it was a serious failure to comply and a hindrance towards efforts of applying for a FMD free status.
On the economy and employment under the Department of Education, Mr Galeragwe said the Central District Council had been given P425 000 to manufacture 17 donkey carts for other areas in the district. He said initially the council was given a provision to procure 32 donkey carts in the Ministry of Basic Education's initiative to transport pupils to school.
Mr Galeragwe said although communities that such carts were made for seemed to be shunning them, the council was continuing dialogue with the communities to hire out their donkeys and drivers so that pupils could be transported to school.
"It is envisaged that all the carts will be operational before the end of the year," he said. He also noted that foodstuffs that were previously supplied by food relief services had been handed over to local authorities to purchase them. He said funding of over P66 million had been provided for foodstuffs for all the 238 primary schools. He said the money would also be used to purchase agriculture products and pay hand stampers for the financial year 2017/18.
He added that they had also been granted permission to use food relief services depots as they had previously done, including sharing transportation and staff for delivering foodstuffs to schools.
"These foods are sorghum, samp and beans. Beans will, however, be purchased from Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board," he said. He said the menu for primary schools would be improved gradually, adding that it was meant for children to boost their immune system.
"In this current financial year, schools have been asked to purchase vegetables for their learners. Learners will also be provided with a fruit, with their normal milk and bread supply," he said.
Mr Galeragwe said children in rural areas would be given an egg three times a week while those in peri-urban areas would be given an egg twice a week. Those in urban areas would be given one egg per week.
On environmental health, he said the district was faced with challenges of waste handling and disposal. He noted that indiscriminate dumping of waste in open spaces and road reserves between villages left the environment unsightly. "These are environmental health challenges that need to be addressed by the leadership in all forums," he said.
Mr Galeragwe noted that in a bid to overcome such challenges, they had continued to stage clean up campaigns that inspired and empowered communities to clean and conserve their environment. He urged councillors to support the annual clean-up campaign. He also noted that the world commemoration for a clean-up campaign for the Central District would be held on September 14.
"When the environment is sick and polluted, human health is impossible. To heal ourselves we must first heal the environment. A desire for a clean up campaign is a powerful sense of destiny and hope for the future," he said.
The council also took time to observe a moment of silence for the late former president, Sir Ketumile Masire and councillor Leposo Mosarwe.