By Hileni Nembwaya
ANGOLAN street vendors at the northern border town of Oshikango are still trading in chickens despite the Government’s ban on the movement of live birds following the outbreak of the Newcastle disease in the northern communal areas (NCA).
In a statement issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, acting permanent secretary Sophia Kasheeta said that the ban covers Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions.
The ban is said to include the movement of bird species such as chicken, guinea fowls, doves, ostriches, ducks and caged birds.
The movement of uncooked eggs, feathers and chicken feed originating from the establishments where live chickens are kept is also prohibited.
Last week when Confidente visited the northern border town, Angolan street vendors at Oshipwatapwata informal location were found conducting their business of selling live chickens as usual without fearing the law enforcement agencies.
A vendor who did not want to be named, told Confidente that she cannot stop selling chickens because she is the sole provider of her family, thus she needs to make ends meet for survival. “My dear, I know that the authorities have banned the movement of chickens but I cannot put my business on hold. Money does not rest. I have to work and support my family. I sneak in my chickens when I enter Namibia at the border and sometimes I do not enter through the border, there is a small gate somewhere there and that is where we sometimes enter through,” she disclosed.
The vendors are selling live chickens at prices starting from N$70 each.
Ohangwena region, State veterinarian Magano Kefas said that it is difficult to control cross border trade because the border is open and there is no one controlling the vendors entering the country.
“That is a threat to the communities, however those people do not listen and they are not adhering to the regulations put in place for them,” said Kefas.
Kefas furthermore added that the cases of Newcastle disease have reduced and only four places in the whole region were confirmed since the outbreak.
“At the moment we have run out of vaccination drugs and we are still waiting for the ministry to deliver the drugs,” she said.
Agriculture acting PS Kasheeta also noted that the movement of live birds, raw eggs and feathers from countries bordering the affected northern regions has been banned.
“Inspections at roadblocks within the NCAs and regular patrols along the international borders are being conducted, and all trespassers will be prosecuted. All commercial poultry farmers are urged to have sound vaccination programmes and bio-security measures in place. However, ostrich farmers are advised not to vaccinate their birds without consulting their state veterinarians,” she said. The outbreak is believed to have spread from Angola through cross border trade where vendors cross into Namibia to sell their products, including chickens, at cheaper prices when compared to local vendors.
The symptoms of Newcastle disease include gasping and coughing, drooping wings, dragging legs, twisting of the head and neck, circling, depression, and complete paralysis.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015