3 task teams established to tackle foot and mouth disease outbreak

Several neighbouring countries have banned red meat from South Africa after the disease was detected in the Vhembe district of that province earlier this month.

FILE: Meat on display inside a store. Picture: pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries says the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Limpopo has had a devastating impact on trade in the past week.

Several neighbouring countries have banned red meat from South Africa after the disease was detected in the Vhembe district of that province earlier this month.

More than 15,000 cattle infected by the outbreak have been quarantined and are set to be vaccinated by the department.

Minister Senzeni Zokwana says they have established three task teams to tackle the outbreak of the disease quickly and effectively.

Zokwana says this is to protect South Africa’s global trade agreements.

“We are going to keep in touch with our trade partners so that we can convince them that as a country we still believe we can produce clean meat that is good for human consumption.”

The department is currently rolling out vaccinations to stop the spread in the Vhembe district.

Gerhard Schutte, CEO of the Red Meat Producers Organisation, says the outbreak is costing the industry and the economy.

“We were losing R6 billion per annum with agriculture, so we need our status back as soon as possible.”

The department has urged all farmers to report cases of suspected foot and mouth disease immediately.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)