NAMIBIA: Farmers Say No to Buffaloes On Farms

THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism, in a last-minute move, withdrew 55 wild buffaloes from a wildlife auction in Windhoek on Friday. The buffaloes come from the Waterberg Plateau Park.

The withdrawal of the disease-free buffaloes came after a local commercial farmer filed an application against the ministry with the Windhoek High Court, claiming his constitutional rights were infringed as the buffaloes were meant for export only.

Buffaloes are regarded as carriers of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

"The producers of the Livestock Producers Forum (LPF), consisting of communal, emerging commercial and commercial farmers, are concerned that the introduction of buffalo in the agriculture sector south of the veterinary cordon fence might jeopardise the animal health status of the sector," LPF Chairman Pintile Davids said in a statement on Friday.

"The LPF would like to emphasise the incompatibility of livestock farming and buffalo due to the risk it poses to the animal health status of Namibia and the country's export status," Davids said.

"The LPF acknowledges the disease-free status of the buffalo, but is seriously concerned about the management and control of movement of buffalo in general in the farming sector."

"Namibia is a net exporter of meat, with 80 per cent of meat produced exported. The lucrative European market and the South African market are presently the main importers of Namibian meat. These markets, especially the European market, were obtained as a result of the maintenance of the current veterinary status in Namibia."Lawyers for Namib Game Services and its owner, Hebert Wolfgang Henle, filed the application in the High Court on Thursday.

Brigitte Weidlich - 7 June 2010 - The Namibian