Imported red meat from South Africa has been banned in neighbouring countries as of yesterday following a foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease outbreak in northern Limpopo.
On Monday, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana confirmed the outbreak of FMD, which was first identified roughly a week ago in the Vhembe district near the border of Zimbabwe.
The World Organisation for Animal Health was prompted by the outbreak to lift the FMD-free status South Africa has held since 2014, which has helped to boost the country’s red meat exports.
Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) are among the countries that have outlawed the imports of South African red meat over the past week.
FMD is highly contagious, causing lesions and lameness in cows. So far around 50 heads of cattle in the affected area have been placed under quarantine.
“These bans have caused serious loss to the industry,” the agriculture ministry said in a statement. “The impact this has had to trade in the past week has been devastating to say the least.”
South Africa is a net exporter of chilled and frozen beef, producing roughly $145-million worth of red meat exports each year.
Although the disease does not directly affect humans, all movement of red meat and products produced from affected cows that originate in South Africa have been banned until further notice.
Mozambique, eSwatini (formerly Swaziland), Namibia, Lesotho, Mauritius, and Angola are among the key beef export markets.