The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) under the Ministry of Agriculture has announced the immediate suspension of the importation of all animals and animal products from South Africa.
The DVS says this is a result of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Mpumalanga Province.
The Acting Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Kefentse Motshegwa, all import permits for cloven hooves animals and their products are now void. He said the outbreak of the disease in Mpumalanga has not yet spread to other provinces in South Africa, further stating that the farming community is, therefore, informed that importation of FMD susceptible livestock and fresh products derived from them is restored, with the exception of such goods from Kwazulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. ┬á
“Fresh meat products from cloven hoofed animals from RSA approved export establishments are allowed with permit and also importation of fresh meat derived from cloven hoofed animals from RSA for personal consumption is allowed with a permit,” he said.
Furthermore, Motshegwa stated that transit meat products to Botswana can enter RSA through all provinces except Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal. Over and above that the Department of Veterinary Services maintained that individuals and companies in possession of import permits issued before 10th January are advised to reapply for new import permits reflecting the new import conditions.
┬á“Intensive surveillance along the borders, public education, movement restrictions, a ban on importation of cloven hoofed animals, blockade and border patrols are part of our campaign to reduce the risk of spreading the disease into Botswana,” said Motshegwa. Meanwhile, a local, Harry De Vieliars, observed that the agriculture sector has been playing a major role in diversifying Botswana’s economy, adding that, however, it is one sector that has continuous erupting challenges.┬á He said the Foot and Mouth situation in both the North East and in Ngamiland was an issue throughout 2011. Two years ago, Botswana was also hit by several livestock diseases such as Rift Valley (RVF) at Seribe Crush in the Ramotswa Extension area. The outbreak was confirmed on 23rd June as that of a viral disease affecting both domestic and wildlife animals. The outbreak of RVF in Ramotswa followed an outbreak in some areas in South Africa, where health authorities have reported close to 200 human cases and over 20 animal deaths from the disease. It was the first ever recorded case of Rift Valley Fever in Botswana.