Countries like Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana who are heavily dependent on the importation of meat and animal products from South Africa have placed a ban on the importation of meat products from the country. This is as a result of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak which the country is currently battling.
According to experts, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants. The disease spreads very quickly if not controlled and because of this, it is a reportable disease. It causes lesions and lameness in cattle and sheep.
The disease was first detected in the northern district of Limpopo province. Limpopo is a South African province bordering Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Farmers and animal products exporters in South Africa have expressed concerns owning to the fact that the embargo placed by the countries will affect their businesses in no small way.
Reacting to this, the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries have urged the exporters and farmers to remain calm saying the embargo and outbreak will not affect the country's meat export business.
The department released a statement saying that the affected areas were under quarantine and investigations were underway to verify the causes and put the situation under control.
"We have quickly quarantined the area, so it does not affect the commercial livestock farming which will pose a danger to us as consumers and the export business," said that country's Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries spokesman, Khaye Nkwanyana
Meanwhile, the World Organisation for Animal Health has officially placed a suspension on South Africa's FMD free status license, until the outbreak is fully put under control.
Defending the ban, the Zimbabwean Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement released a statement saying:
"The control of foot and mouth disease involves the implementation of trade restrictions," said the ministry in a statement.
"Consequently, all imports that had been issued before 09-01-2019 and not used are hereby cancelled.
"In line with the Animal Health Act CAP 10:01, the issuance of permits is a mandatory requirement for the importation of all animal products. Any import application will now be considered on a case by case basis depending on the risk."
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) affects hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, antelope, etc. and it is transmittable to humans.
Header Image: World Organisation for Animal Health