Figure 1: Structure of the VS within the Ministry of Agriculture
Apart from the central veterinary office in Windhoek, there are 18 state veterinary offices distributed throughout the country, and around 50 animal health technician offices. Five border posts are controlled with permanent veterinary staff, two of which are the airport in Windhoek and Walvis Bay Harbour. The VS are responsible for the ante‐ and post‐mortem inspection at export abattoirs, while the meat inspection for local consumption is done by the Ministry of Health or municipalities. Aquaculture and fisheries is not part of the Veterinary Services, but is part of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
The country is basically divided into two parts by the Veterinary Cordon Fence. This is a stockproof and gameproof fence located in the northern part of Namibia, traversing the country from near the Atlantic coast to the border with Botswana (see Figure 2). It separates the FMD disease free and surveillance zone in the South from a buffer and FMD infected northern zone. The VCF can be passed on 9 permanent check‐points.
Farming: There are two distinctly different farming systems in Namibia: Commercial farming, with often large territories and owned and managed by farmers, mostly of European origin, and Communal farming, with smaller territories, which are mainly run by African families under a communal system. While almost all commercial farming, which allows for higher profits due to the possibility of exporting the meat to the RSA and the EU happens south of the VCF, communal farming is done north of the VCF.
A census from the end of 2006 showed a total of 2.4 million cattle, 2.6 million sheep and 2 million goats as the most numerous domestic species. There were around