Over 10 000 cattle affected by the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) have been vaccinated to eliminate the spillage of the outbreak.
This follows confirmed FMD in cattle in the Vhembe District of Limpopo early this year.
Updating the media on the status of FMD in Pretoria on Monday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said that the vaccination of cattle commenced on 14 January 2019, starting with cattle in the affected villages, as well as cattle in the 20km radius around the affected villages.
"To date, the total number of cattle vaccinated is over 10 000. Vaccinated cattle are marked to identify them as vaccinated," Zokwana said.
Zokwana said that up to 30 January 2019, four positive locations in Limpopo have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The locations were confirmed on Polimarase Chain Reaction (PCR) and serology tests, performed at the Transboundary Animal Disease programme of Onderstepoort Veterinary Research.
"The animals affected by the outbreak are cattle kept in rural villages with communal diptanks and grazing. The affected villages are in close proximity, within a 20 kilometre radius. The estimated number of cattle in the 20km around the affected villages is 15 000, of which 4 500 are in the FMD free zone," Zokwana said.
No cloven hoofed animals allowed
With regards to the FMD Management area, Zokwana said no cloven hoofed animals are allowed to move within, into or out of the area.
"Movement permits, which were previously issued for this purpose, were withdrawn. Products from cloven hoofed animals may be allowed to move within this area, but movements out of the area will be considered on merit and only allowed with permits issued by the local state veterinarian and in compliance with the conditions of such permits," Zokwana explained.
In addition, the Minister said the movement of cloven-hoofed animals, including wildlife and unprocessed products out of Mopani District and Vhembe District, as well as the Molemole Municipality of Capricorn District is discouraged until further notice.
"It is only products processed using methods validated to inactivate the FMD virus that are safe to be moved out of the area."
Areas with boundaries
Northern boundary, R524 road from Makhado to Thohoyandou up to the Kruger National Park (KNP) fence.
Western boundary, N1 Highway from Makhado to the point where the R36 road crosses the N1 Highway.
Southern boundary, R36 road from the N1 Highway to Mooketsi. Along the Mooketsi/Giyani Road (R81) from Mooketsi to where the road crosses the Little Letaba River. Along the Little Letaba River up to the fence of the KNP.
Eastern boundary, the KNP fence.
The Minister reiterated to consumers that the product on the shelves is safe for consumption.
He appealed to farmers and all other stakeholders on FMD to use specially made e-mail for enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Overview on drought
Meanwhile, Zokwana reported that he has recently received and considered the Section 7 Report on Drought from the Section 7 Committee, as convened through the National Agricultural Marketing Council.
The report included four recommendations that addressed the smart drought implementation management plan:
Setting up a disaster fund;
Establishing Public-Private Partnerships;
Setting up a multiperil agricultural insurance; and
Creating an Early Warning System in disaster risk reduction.
Zokwana said the report makes compelling recommendations which will provide a sustainable pathway for dealing with drought.
He said that some of the recommendations require engagements with Ministers of Finance and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
To this effect, Zokwana said he will be working with the ministers to ensure that the department's teams and the industry conclude on the practical implementation steps which will give effect to the recommendations.
DAFF Director-General Mike Mlengana will lead a team to ensure that the smart drought implementation plan is implemented.
In response to the persistent drought situation, Zokwana said that a provisional allocation was set aside by Finance Minister in 2018, for several purposes, including drought relief and augment public infrastructure investment.
"Following this announcement, the agricultural sector applied for drought funding and received a total allocation of R566.5 million from National Treasury which is currently being implemented in various provinces, mostly targeting those farmers unable to cope using their own means as per Disaster Management Act (Act No 16 of 2015)," the Minister said.