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Farmers in Botswana urged to shun overuse of antibiotics

Antimicrobial susceptibility testing in petri dish

Botswana’s Agriculture Minister Fidelis Molao has urged farmers to shun the overuse of antibiotics, as the country marks the Nov. 18-24 World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

“Farmers should play the leading role in producing sustainably in order to preserve antibiotics and prevent antimicrobial resistance (AMR),” the minister said at an event Thursday in Mathangwane, a village some 460 km northeast of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana.

Farmers and the food industry in the southern African country often resort to antibiotics to promote growth and prevent disease in healthy animals, a dangerous practice that could lead to drug resistance, Molao said.

He called for better hygiene to prevent infections and to avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics, particularly for young and small animals.

Control of parasites such as ticks and worms are also important in preventing livestock diseases and overuse of antibiotics, Molao added.

He urged farmers to shun all feed that contains antibiotics and report any feed that is labelled to contain antibiotics except when the product is prescribed to treat a specific problem.

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