South African government officials are crisscrossing the country to put measures in place to tackle the spread of foot and mouth disease(FMD), said a senior government official on Friday.
The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza said this after meeting government and traditional leaders in Limpopo Province.
South Africa reported 56 FMD cases in KwaZulu-Natal, Northwest, Limpopo and Gauteng Provinces recently.
The government said the illegal movement of cattle from the FMD protection zone to other areas without permission from the state veterinary services has contributed to the disease.
“By containing the spread, we shall be able to manage the current ban on South African meat as it has negatively affected the agricultural output and revenue. As a result, we called a multidisciplinary team involving the office of the premier, provincial treasury, provincial economic development, environment and tourism to see what it is that we are not managing, allowing this crisis to reach where it is,” said Didiza.
She said cattle in Limpopo Province could have contracted the FMD through mixing with buffaloes, known to be high carriers of the disease, from Kruger National Park.
Limpopo provincial premier Stanley Mathabatha is committed to working with all stakeholders to eradicate the FMD.
“Agriculture is one of the pillars in the Limpopo Development Plan. Any matter that threatens this part affects the general economic outlook and the recovery of our province, hence the importance of this meeting. I have called upon … the multi-disciplinary team to attend to this matter as a crisis.
We need to claim back this share and not lose interest in our products from international and national consumers,” he said.
South Africa lost its World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recognized FMD free zone status in 2019. Enditem