Move to resume safe trade under foot and mouth ban

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The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) says it is working with industries to motivate the resumption of trade in safe products. This comes after neighbouring countries Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe banned the import of meat from South Africa after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease at the beginning of the year in the Vhembe and Capricorn Districts of Limpopo.

The Department has reiterated that no live cloven hooved animals may be moved within the area affected by foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Vhembe District.

“No live cloven hooved animals are allowed to move into, within, through and out of the area. Law enforcement has been reinforced and any animals found to be moved around will be confiscated by the police and destroyed,” the department said. The department said following a meeting between DAFF Minister Senzeni Zokwana and industry, the technical task team met on 16 January and agreed to limit the area being vaccinated to make the long-term management of the disease easier, provided this does not compromise disease control efforts.

The task team also agreed to increase police visibility and provide feed for the affected villages in order to limit the movements and interactions of animals at grazing sites.

“Two sets of teams have started work in the area. Seventeen vaccination teams working in the possibly infected areas are conducting inspections and vaccinations, and four inspection teams are working in the ‘clean’ area to determine the extent of the outbreak. Four thousand and twenty-one animals in nine villages have been vaccinated so far.

“To date, the disease has been confirmed in two villages. Following reports of clinical signs, three more villages are being followed up, samples have been submitted to the laboratory and the results are expected early next week,” the department said.

The Limpopo Department of Agriculture has since provided feed to the affected animal owners and letters have been sent to 20 trade partners and trade of processed products is starting to flow.

The department has reassured consumers that the product on the shelves is safe for consumption. “The reason trade is interrupted is because FMD is a highly trade sensitive disease, which calls for trade partners to suspend trade with countries infected.”

The department said it is confident that this is a temporary setback, and it is working with industries to motivate the resumption of trade in safe products. – SAnews.gov.za

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