FMD to get shot in the arm

The National Treasury has allocated R26,6 million to combat the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in KZN.

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The National Treasury has allocated R26,6 million to combat the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in KZN, according to Treasury’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

The Department of Agriculture, Forestries and Fisheries (DAFF) will decide on the disbursement of the funds. “It was only announced last week and there will still be some issues to be attended to between the DAFF and Treasury,” said DAFF spokesman Steve Galane.

“We also need to finalise the programmes which will be funded from the disbursement, so we need a little time to sort that out.” Dave Ford, chairperson of the Red Meat Industry Forum, welcomed the Treasury’s allocation.

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“It is very good news that money will be set aside,” he said, adding he was eager to hear how the funds would be allocated. Ford said the disease continues to take a toll on the exports of all cloven hoofed livestock products. “The National Agricultural Marketing Council and University of Pretoria estimated that FMD costs the livestock industry in the order of R4 billion a year. The department disagrees with that figure but it had yet to come up with an estimate of its own,” said Ford.

George Southey, a senior member of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), said certain AMIE members want the funds to be used to reinstate South Africa’s export status. “In terms of the veterinary protocols agreed between importing and exporting countries, a number of countries require our FMD-free status to be retained,” he said.
“Now that we are FMD-infected, trade to a number of countries has been limited or affected, including various Middle Eastern countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Angola has stopped imports of South African beef and it was quite a big destination. There have been limited exports to Swaziland and Mozambique. Mauritius has also stopped exports.”

He said affected products included not only direct red meat exports but other products that come off the carcass, such as hides. – Robyn Joubert