Commentary: South Africa suffers another blow of Foot-And-Mouth outbreak

On the 6th of November 2019, the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) reported through its media release about the positive testing of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in the  Molemole district of Limpopo Province. According to the department, the results were confirmed on the 01st of November 2019 after the Onderstepoort Veterinary Research Transboundary Animal Disease Programme conducted several testing. The positive FMD presence were found in the farm that was located in the previous FMD free zones. It can be recalled that on the 8th of January 2019, the national department of agriculture also reported the spillage of FMD which had occurred in different district in the Limpopo province. The positive testing of FMD has immediately prompted the World Organisation for Animal Heath (OIE) to suspend South Africa’s FMD-free status. This has had a devastating effect on trade of cloven hoofed animals and their products from South Africa. While some countries instituted official bans, trade was further disrupted as a result of the inability to certify for any exports where FMD free zone attestation is  required. The recent findings of FMD outbreak in Molemole district might result in countries like China to re-impose the import ban of beef and other cloven-hoofed animal products after the ban on exports of products from cloven hoofed animals to China was officially lifted on July.

It also poses a threat to South Africa’s exports given the previous imposes on import ban and suspension of FMD-free status. Additionally, South Africa is bound to lose significant market shares in favour of Namibia as it already supplies the biggest portion of live animals in the region. Therefore, South Africa run at the risk of possible imposition of restriction on the movement of livestock products. Resulting in a lack of lucrative markets which will further have consequences; and it might restricts the development of livestock farming. SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS ARE CAUTIONED TO OBSERVE BIO-SECURITY MEASURES – NOT TO ALLOW ANY NEW ANIMALS INTO THEIR HERDS,  AND TO MINIMIZE THE MOVEMENT OF THEIR OWN HERDS TO OTHER FARMS.

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