Botswana says it is shooting Zimbabwe cattle which stray across its border to protect its beef exports to the European Union (EU). Zimbabwe farmers are furious and say that 400 healthy animals which crossed the unfenced border were shot by Botswana officials last month.
Paddy Zhanda, deputy agriculture and mechanisation minister responsible for livestock, told Zimbabwe journalists that the shooting of the cattle was bad, but he insisted farmers living along the Botswana border should look after their livestock. He said,
It [the shooting] is not nice, people should look after their cattle to avoid losses. We might need to visit the affected areas soon to sensitise them.
Provincial livestock specialist Simangaliphi Ngwabi told the Sunday News in Bulawayo that farmers had to ensure their cattle did not stray,
We can’t put the blame on Botswana for shooting our cattle because they issued a three-months warning before starting the shooting. They can’t risk losing their EU export licence because our farmers have let their cattle cross their borders. Their economy is largely driven by trading in beef; business is business and as such we shouldn’t play a part in them losing their EU quota. We therefore advise our farmers to adhere to proper livestock management which entails checking the movement of their animals from time to time.