Joint Statement between the Minister and the Red Meat Industry after a meeting in Pretoria on Foot and Mouth Disease Outbreak
On the 07th of January 2019 the Department declared officially that a spillage of foot and mouth disease (FMD) has occurred in Vhembe district, in Limpopo. This was confirmed after cases were reported to our State Vets who therefore conducted tests to cattle in the area. The positive location is just outside the FMD Control Zone, and more specifically, in the high surveillance area of the FMD Free Zone.
The spillage of FMD immediately prompted the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to suspend South African FMD-free status. This temporal suspension has caused few neighboring trading countries to ban our exports. These bans have caused serious loss to the industry.
Consequently, today a meeting with the industry players and government was held to discuss the implications and solutions from the perspective of looking at international trade. I am pleased with the honest engagement and a willingness from the industry to work with government leveraging from their technical skills.
Both government and the industry agreed on the following:
- The department presented the report on the interventions being made since the outbreak and the industry appreciated these measures. The industry acknowledged that government alone, with its limited resources and technical skills cannot swiftly win the battle.
- A formation of a technical team made out of the Department and the Industry has been agreed to, on fighting the current outbreak;
- Setting up of a trade committee that will engage with foreign markets where the industry export. This committee will look beyond FMD and look at market gaps and opportunities.
We want to emphasize that the outbreak is limited to Vhembe district, at Sundani village. The affected cattle is less than 50 in an area with about 10 000 to 15000. The area remain under quarantined and vaccination process is beginning so that no further infections can occur. FMD is not transmittable to human beings and there should be no panic whatsoever.