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MEAT INDUSTRY THREAT AS SA LIFTS BAN

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MBABANE – Local farmers might soon again have stiff competition in the supply of meat. This follows an announcement by South Africa’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Thoko Didiza, saying a government ban on the public auction of hoofed livestock to prevent a spread of foot-and-mouth disease has been lifted. The pronouncement was made two days ago.


This will hit hard on the local farmers, as retailers might soon be free to import meat again. The country suspended animal imports from neighbouring South Africa twice in 2019 following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the neighbouring country.


The lifting of the ban comes at a time when the pig industry is becoming self-sustainable. It has produced 418.3 metric tons of pork, generating E14 million in the past few months. A lion’s share of the money was generated during the period of the import ban.


outbreaks


This revenue was generated during the second quarter of the 2019/20 financial year.
South Africa has been grappling with challenges related to outbreaks of the viral livestock disease since 2019. The department of agriculture announced a national ban on public auctions in December last year. 


“I understand the impact that this has had on the economy, particularly for the auctioneers, but they too appreciated that what we did was done to protect the red meat industry. We are formally announcing the removal of the ban across the country because we are convinced of the work we have done,” said Didiza.
Zimbabwe had also announced a  ban on the import of livestock from South Africa in 2019.


Didiza said even though the ban was now being lifted, authorities expected auctioneers and sellers to maintain the highest standards of animal health and buyers to undertake due diligence.


comment


Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Bongani Masuku said he was in Bonn, Germany, when sought for comment. This publication wanted to establish if the country would now lift the ban on South Africa’s imports.  Communications Officer Nomvuselelo Dlamini said meat imports remained banned, as there was no communication from South Africa to the country regarding the developments, especially on trading internationally.
“Our position on the issue remains unchanged until we get a correspondence from South Africa,” she said. 

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