FMD outbreak in the FMD-free zone of Limpopo

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FMD outbreak in the FMD-free zone of Limpopo

The Limpopo Animal Health Forum (LAHF) is concerned about the outbreak of FMD outside the controlled zone of Limpopo. LAHF’s objective is to preserve and improve the health of animals in Limpopo as well as the rest of SA. FMD management is a standing point on the agenda of the Forum.

At these meeting LAHF continiously reiterated effective FMD management because it is in the interest to the economy of the whole of SA. Effective vaccination and control over movement of animals in the control zone, are essentials in minimizing the threat FMD poses the national herd. LAHF is constantly assured that all prosedures are in place and effectively applied. The latest outbreak brings this assurance under doubt.

LAHF repeatedly pointed out that:

The condition of the international border fence of Limpopo is a point of great concern. It makes proper border control impossible. Stray animals from neighbouring countries threatens the health of the national herd. It also threatens the export status of SA

Control over livestock movement from controlled zones to FMD free zones are lacking behind. Control over transport permits and proper identification of animals being transported are the responsibilities of veterinary services, SAPS and traffic control combined. Poor training and corruption makes this control measure ineffective

Fences between controlled areas and FMD free zones are not maintained as required, hence animals migrate between these zones, especially in drought conditions

Control posts where chemical treatment of the wheels and lower parts of vehicles leaving the FMD control zones should be done, are not effectively operational

LAHF repeatedly warned that poor management of the FMD situation in Limpopo may result in trade restrictions on agricultural goods from SA, with devastating financial results for farmers and the country. It was pointed out that in such an event more than just animals and animal products can be effected. On 8 January 2019 exactly that happened when Botswana included the following in their banning of importation of live cloven animals: “the importation of veldt grasses, bedding and animal manure contaminated products and vehicles are also not allowed” (quoted from their media statement).

Namibia announced comparable measures.

LAHF is concerned that export of fruit and vegetables from SA may also be negatively affected by this outbreak. LAHF calls on the SA government to show its commitment to resolving this situation by putting appropriate measures and plans into place to find practical solutions that will prevent the same to happen again in future. The Corona project that was suppose to improve security on the northern border of Limpopo is lagging behind by almost three years. This project should be prioritised immediately and completed as soon as possible. This action will assist in reducing the threat of FMD from bordering countries.

Proper planning to ensure edaquate volumes of FMD vaccine are available in time and enough technicions are proper equiped to perform FMD preventative vaccinations.

Effective vaccination and movement control of animals is only possible with a reliable animal identification system. The National Animal Health Forum has long been asking for funding to put LITS in place. The Livestock Identification and Tracking System is surely the quickest and least costly way for DAFF to get control over FMD animals in control areas, but also over brucella, amongst other diseases, that needs better management.

Issued by :
Limpopo Animal Health Forum
Enquiries: Willem Van Jaarsveld – Chairperson LAHF, 082 451 7913