A recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Limpopo may not be as negative as people thought – meat-lovers could sooner be enjoying lower red meat prices as neighboring countries have banned red meat exports from SA.

Last week, after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in cattle in the district of Vhembe in Limpopo, South Africa was placed on the no-export list by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

According to spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Khaye Nkwanyana, the price of red meat should change in the coming weeks.

“Prices currently remain unchanged, but red meat could become cheaper in the next few weeks due to less international demand. This might lead to a domestic surplus that will stimulate the buying power of consumers,” he told City Press.

Spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Molebatsi Masedi also felt the same way.

“As a country, we might not be able to dispose of red meat by exporting it and we will, therefore, be stuck with it and prices could decrease, but this surplus will be shortlived because traders will not want to be stuck with the meat. On the other hand, we might not be able to provide fresh meat, meaning we could see a decrease in the amount of red meat that is available, and prices could therefore increase,” he added.

Masedi says his department is working around the clock to ensure the situation was resolved quickly and with the least effect possible.

“The outbreak only happened about two weeks ago and the most important thing right now is to make sure we arrest the situation and keep it minimal. On Monday, vaccination started within a 20km radius of the area of infection and this will help us. Normally the minimal time for containment of such a situation is about three months, but if it goes on longer than that, farmers, consumers, traders and the country as a whole will be adversely affected,” he said.

Once the outbreak was announced countries including eSwatini, Botswana and Namibia banned the imports of red meat from South Africa to protect their livestock from contracting the disease.

Picture: Pixabay

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