Cows are seen in a farm in Azul, in Buenos Aires

JOHANNESBURG - Agri SA has expressed concern over the national banning of livestock auctions as a result of the latest cases of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Limpopo.

“This will have an adverse economic impact on the agricultural sector,” Agri SA executive director Omri van Zyl said in a statement.

“The national banning of livestock auctions comes at a time when farmers are already cash-strapped and adds additional pressure on the sustainability of farmers,” he said.

There had been numerous problems in the way that the agriculture, land reform, and rural development department (DALRRD) had managed the disease in the controlled area.

“While we understand the government’s decision to ban auctions to determine the extent of the crisis, the banning of auctions can only be a short-term mitigant to contain the disease. We are concerned about the potential threat of the disease spreading to other provinces, which could be catastrophic for South Africa. The tracing of infected animals needs to be done as a matter of urgency,” Van Zyl said.

Greater consultation and cooperation between all role-players was needed. Agri SA called on all stakeholders, public and private, to cooperate with the DALRDD and veterinary services to mitigate the crisis, he said.

The existing structures within organised agriculture, such as the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) and the members of the Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF), were best positioned to manage the situation, Agri SA president Dan Kriek said in the statement.

Agri SA called on the DALRDD to continuously combine their efforts with these structures and to allocate sufficient resources to implement the required interventions. The announcement to deploy upgraded security measures on the Limpopo province’s borders was welcomed. Agri SA called for the ban to be lifted as soon as safety measures allowed.

African News Agency