Quarantine restrictions have been lifted on nine of the 19 properties affected by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Limpopo since November 2019.
This was according to a statement issued today by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (agriculture department).
Department spokesperson, Reggie Ngcobo, said that another benefit of ongoing efforts to manage Limpopo’s latest FMD outbreak was that Botswana had recently lifted its precautionary ban on imports of live cattle from South Africa.
He explained that Botswana had done this on condition that these cattle were first quarantined for at least 30 days, tested for FMD during this time, and then exported under supervision of the two countries’ veterinary authorities.
“Permission was granted to nine [Limpopo] feedlots for the safe slaughter of animals from affected premises, at two abattoirs designated for this purpose. This process is continuing and more than 11 000 animals from farms under quarantine have been safely processed. Once all animals on affected properties have been slaughtered, the quarantine can be lifted and the farming operations can resume [as normal],” said Ngcobo.
He added that once all of Limpopo’s FMD-affected properties, and their surrounds, had been certified as being free of this highly contagious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals, animal health authorities would strategise on a way forward to request the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to reinstate South Africa’s FMD-free status.
Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (RPO), said South Africa’s red meat industry was pleased with progress being made to resolve Limpopo’s FMD outbreak.
However, he said the industry was under no illusions that much more work needed to be done in this regard before the OIE would be prepared to declare South Africa as FMD-free again.
“We’re grateful to government for having achieved a number of bilateral red meat trade agreements with various countries, including the lucrative Chinese market, and now again with Botswana. Botswana really needs good stud animals from South Africa. We’d like to see the same happening with Namibia, and we’ve told the Namibian government that we’re willing to abide by any FMD-related protocols that they might have for our exports to there,” he said.
He urged South Africa’s animal health authorities and the red meat sector to work together on initiatives to prevent FMD from breaking out in the sector again, once the outbreak in Limpopo had been dealt with.