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Beitbridge quarantine centre opens

by Staff Reporter
14 Apr 2023 at 00:01hrs | Views
The Beitbridge Border Post plant and animal quarantine centre is now operational. The facility is part of the US$300 million Beitbridge Border Post modernisation project, which is being undertaken by the Government in partnership with the ZimBorders Consortium.

The plant and animal quarantine centre is located about 5km north of the border post. It is one of the key projects that the Government has undertaken to improve the efficiency and capacity of the border post.

The facility will help to decongest the border post and enhance the country's capacity to control the export and import of agricultural-related products. It will also go a long way in boosting disease control.

Within the facility, there are various laboratories with a special focus on animal health, general hazards, and farming-related equipment that will be examined for conformity with import and export regulations.

Some of the laboratories are being managed by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Department of Veterinary Services, the Agriculture Plant, and the National Biotechnology Authority (NBA).

According to the Chronicle, Inspector-in-charge of the facility, Mr Levy Gama said the new facility is a one-stop shop for importers and exporters, which has resulted in improved services considering that the laboratory analyses are now being conducted on-site unlike in the past when samples would be taken to Harare.

Mr Gama said the new plant has laboratories and incinerators to destroy rejected products.

"The plant is also ideal for citrus and horticulture farmers since we will be able to do all the necessary checks for exports and imported raw materials closer to them. We are also now able to do our inspections without creating congestion at the border, and we have enough storage for intercepted consignments," he said.

Mr Gama said depending on the period of the month and the movement of commercial cargo, on a daily basis, they handle an average of 10 trucks carrying agricultural products.

Prior to the latest development, related services were being offered within the border area albeit under limited space.

Livestock Farmers' Union official, Mr Sifiso Sibanda said the facility is critical for disease control as well as farm produce exports and imports.

Mr Sibanda said the facility is also a boost for farmers in Beitbridge District who rely mostly on livestock production as a source of livelihood.

"For us farmers, we will have unlimited access to the new facility, considering that most of us were importing better goats and sheep breeds from South Africa. We will also be able to export or import disease-free animals and everything will be done according to the book," he said.

ZimBorders chief executive officer, Mr Francois Diedrechsen said they handed over the facility to Government for further management late last year.

"We have completed the animal and plant quarantine facility and handed it to Government and the process of operationalising it has started," he said.

Beitbridge district development co-ordinator, Mrs Sikhangezile Mafu said: "We welcome this initiative by our Government and its partners as it will go a long way in strengthening the protection of livestock and plants from imported diseases, thereby boosting production of healthy livestock supported with good pastures."

A villager from the Malala area, Ms Remaketsi Mbedzi said communal farmers are happy to access technical knowledge from experts at the new animal and quarantine facility.

"We are delighted to have such a huge facility in our district which is critical in minimising the spread of diseases such as foot-and-mouth," she said.

The plant and animal quarantine centre is a welcome development for the Beitbridge Border Post and the country as a whole. It will help to improve the efficiency of the border post, boost trade, and protect the country's agricultural sector.

Source - The Chronicle