On 11 October 2019, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) set out the practical implementation of the Commodity Based Trade (CBT) approach.
This describes standards, guidelines and procedures to be applied to facilitate safe trade of meat and meat products as well as the eventual movement of meat or meat products from the foot-and-Mmouth disease (FMD) Protection Zone and Infected Zone in the Northern Communal Area (NCA) of Namibia.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) provides standards for the non-geographical approach to FMD, in other words, providing standards for trade of beef from areas not free from FMD.
Three options exist for the trade of beef from areas not free from FMD:
Management of FMD along individual value chains to enable marketing of FMD virus-free products.
Processing of beef to inactivate any FMD virus that may be present.
Compartmentalisation involving integrated biosecurity measures.
The abovementioned standards are contained in Article 8.8.22, Article 8.8.31 and Article 8.8.4 of the Terrestrial Animal Health Code, respectively. Research conducted in the Zambezi Region of Namibia led to the adoption of the value chain approach by the OIE. Taking into consideration the nature of the two zones in Namibia not free from FMD as well as the practicality and cost of implementation, the (1) value chain approach and (2) processing of beef to inactivate the FMD virus are the preferred options for trade-in beef from areas in Namibia not free from FMD.
Marketing of beef from the FMD Infected Zone
It is intended that the two systems could be implemented concurrently. As this will allow the abattoir operators to:
1. Enable market segmentation.
2. Target markets in which NCA beef could be economically profitable.
3. Potentially continue operations in the face of FMD outbreaks.
Operations during an FMD outbreak in the Infected Zone
During an FMD outbreak declared by the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), movement restrictions will be placed following the FMD Contingency Plan. Cattle must only be procured from areas where no restriction is placed on the movement of livestock.
During an outbreak, the processing of meat and meat products to inactivate the FMD virus could offer a solution to ensure continued operations at the abattoirs in the infected zone. And for the processing of beef to inactivate the FMD virus, the OIE does not require cattle to be quarantined for a period of 30 days, meaning that during an outbreak situation, and with special provision by DVS, healthy cattle could potentially be channelled directly to the abattoir without moving cattle to quarantine farms/camps and risking the health status of cattle currently in the quarantine.
All cattle must be inspected for clinical signs of FMD before and after slaughter and can only be utilised for the processed product if no signs of FMD are evident upon such inspection and cattle already in the quarantine camp during an outbreak must be treated as follows:
Should all the animals already in the quarantine camp at the time at which an outbreak was declared originate from areas outside of the outbreak area as defined by DVS, these animals may complete the quarantine period and be slaughtered in accordance with the value chain approach and be marketed as frozen/chilled meat and/or processed product. Weekly inspection for signs of FMD must be conducted by DVS during the rest of the quarantine period.
Should the animals in the quarantine camp at the time at which an outbreak was declared originate from areas inside the outbreak area as defined by DVS, then all cattle in the quarantine camp must be inspected for signs of FMD and be slaughtered and channelled for processing. Animals can only be slaughtered after 30 days from the last day of vaccination.
Should movement restrictions prevent cattle from entering the quarantine station and thus affect abattoir throughput, cattle already in the quarantine station qualifying to be slaughtered, in accordance with the value chain approach, could be utilised for processed product even if the required quarantine period has not been completed but only once the withdrawal period in the case of vaccinated animals has been completed.
Any animal showing clinical signs of FMD in the quarantine station will lead to general restrictions placed on the movement into and out of the affected quarantine station and implementation of the FMD Contingency Plan.