The Zimbabwean government on Friday suspended imports of live cattle, goats and other cloven-hoofed animals from South Africa in response to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the neighbouring country.Head of veterinary services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Josphat Nyika announced the suspension of imports of live cloven hoofed animals such as cattle, goats, sheep and pigs as well as their products from South Africa with immediate effect.
He said in a statement that the suspension is a precautionary measure in the aftermath of an announcement by South African veterinary officials that an FMD outbreak had been reported early this month at a farm in Limpopo Province, which borders Zimbabwe.
“The suspension of imports from South Africa is a precautionary measure designed to prevent spread of infection into Zimbabwe through the importation of live animals and animal products,” Nyika said.
The official advised the public and stakeholders of the ban of the importation of live cattle, goats, sheep and pigs from South Africa.
“The department continues to monitor the situation with a view to normalizing trade with the Republic of South Africa as soon as the outbreak is controlled,” he said.
Nyika said the suspension would only be lifted after a full report on the outbreak has been availed by South African veterinary authorities.
South Africa is 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 locations to which the disease might have spread.