Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development lifts the 21-day countrywide ban on movement of cattles

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The 21-day countrywide ban on the movement of cattle has been lifted. The ban was affected to contain the spread of foot and mouth disease.

However, there are still active cases that require monitoring. In a statement, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza said her department will continue to monitor areas that still have active infections, and rollout vaccinations. The announcement has been welcomed by all cloven-hoofed animal farmers.

FNB Agriculture economists say though the ban on cattle movement has been lifted, the risk remains due to uncertainty over the Foot and Mouth Disease.

This comes after the government’s decision to lift the 21-day ban on the movement of cattle. Good news is that there are expectations of a strong rebound in supplies as slaughter activity returns to normal. A sentiment shared among many red meat producers. The three-week long ban did not have much impact on production and pricing.

Gerhard Schutte, who is the Red Meat Producers Organisation Chief Executive Officer says, “In South Africa, we have a very large feed lot industry and its very well developed and about 90% of this comes from the feed lot. So now when a calf goes in and 4 months later it comes out and that had a cushion effect, and the good news is that if we look back now there was no real change in terms of the producer price as well as the consumer price so that’s good news for the consumer.”

With the current rising cost of living, red meat has become a luxury food item for many households. However, red meat producers maintain that their pricing is 40% below global average.

On the other hand, the red meat producers organisation has its eyes on the 2030 vision to increase its export market share.

“We’ve got a vision 2030 where we want to export 20% of local production and we want to do it very inclusively on point of 2 million households in South Africa owns livestock, we want the emerging guy to get into the value chain and we want to export especially to China,” said the organisation.

The ban had initially affected the wool industry. This industry says the export ban triggered by the disease resulted in losses over R700-million in storage and other costs.

The wool industry produces approximately 45 million kilograms of wool per year mainly to China.  According to the Wool Growers Association, over 90% of their product are sold abroad.

Video: Two new cases of Foot and Mouth disease reported in Harrismith