By Robert Tapfumaneyi
GOVERNMENT has suspended the importation of live cattle, goats, sheep, pigs and related products from South Africa following a foot and mouth outbreak in the country’s main trading partner.
The suspension follows notification by the South African Veterinary Authorities of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on a farm in Molemole District of Limpopo Province on 1 November 2019.
“They are currently in the process of identifying the virus strain, extent of the outbreak and conducting backward and forward tracing to determine possible origin of the virus as well as the locations to which the disease might have spread,” Josphat Nyika from Zimbabwe’s department of veterinary services said.
“In line with provisions of the Animal Health Act, the department of veterinary services has suspended the importation of live cloven hoofed animals (cattle, goats, sheep and pigs) and their products from South Africa with immediate effect such a full report on the outbreak has been availed by the South African veterinary.
“The suspension of imports from South Africa is a precautionary measure signed to prevent spread of infection into Zimbabwe through the importation of live animals and animal products.
“The department continues to monitor the situation with a view to normalising trade with the Republic of South Africa as soon as the outbreak is controlled.”
Since its land reform programme that reduced livestock and crop yields, Zimbabwe has depended heavily on meat and other animal product imports especially from South Africa.