Minister Didiza meets livestock cluster over Foot And Mouth disease in 5 provinces

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms. Thoko Didiza has met with industry stakeholders on 20 April 2022, to discuss several challenges facing the livestock industry regarding the outbreak of Foot-and-mouth diseases.

During the meeting several challenges were outlined regarding the current outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) which has spread from Limpopo to KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Gauteng, and the Free State.

The Minister assured the industry that government is doing all it can to address the outbreak in the country and she has engaged with all affected MEC’s and relevant officials. “I will intervene personally on some of these matters to ensure that they are resolved” 

The Minister informed the industry that slaughtering and culling have been implemented  in areas such as Gauteng and the same approach will be take in the North West and Free State. This approach is aimed at ensuring that we remain FMD disease free in these Provinces.

“An urgent meeting will be held with the Premier and relevant MEC’s in Limpopo next week to ensure swift and appropriate actions are put in place to stem and contain the diseases in Limpopo” said Minister Didiza

“KZN team has been meeting with the industry in order to undertake quick surveillance after the floods to ensure that we contain the disease in the disaster management area.

The Minister has also promised to release the recommendations report from the Ministerial Biosecurity for Animal Health Technical Task Team before the end of the month.

“Let me make it clear that there will be zero tolerance on unlawful movement of cloven-hoofed livestock from infected areas or properties. I want to reiterate that traceability is a joint venture which must be driven by the industry and LITS SA for implementation” said the Minister 

The meeting resolved on the following issues:

  • South Africa’s FMD free status application will be pursued as the final goal, although this will take time.
  • Additional resources, including but not limited to Compulsory Community Services veterinarians will be directed towards the areas that are struggling with major FMD outbreaks.
  • Animal health technicians and private veterinarians will also be directed to    these areas for additional assistance.
  • Laboratory capacity improvements will be investigated.
  • The APAC rules will be implemented at auctions and out-of-hand transactions.
  • Self-regulation is important.
  • A process of selective vaccination is followed.
  • Slaughtering and culling are mainly undertaken in the newly affected areas.• Decisive and fast decision-making is critical.

Minister Didiza also emphasised the importance of a contingency plan which must be put together urgently by both government and the industry. 

FMD has a major impact on trade in livestock and livestock products but has no impact on human health, the meat from animals slaughtered at an abattoir where the necessary inspections are conducted is therefore safe to consume.

“Livestock handling facilities and the vacancies of state vets in the Limpopo Province have received attention and the implementation will be communicated soon”

Further domestic market access for the livestock owners in the Limpopo FMD Control Zones will be promoted through feedlot project.

The importance of the Public-Private Partnership between government and the industry was discussed at length and the importance of the Provincial Animal Health Forums to take part in the driving of solutions for the FMD outbreaks in each province was also reaffirmed.

The National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) and Red Meat, and Livestock Primary Cluster, (RMLPC), Industry Stakeholders and government committed to working tirelessly to curb the disease from spreading further. 

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