South Africa: SA Agriculture's Déjà Vu Moment, Starring Drought and Animal Disease


South Africa's beef sector contributes about $140m in export revenues. At the time of writing, only Zimbabwe - a relatively small export destination -- has implemented a ban on South African livestock products.

The South African agricultural sector is experiencing a déjà vu moment. The 2018/19 production season was grim, marred by drought for summer crops and foot-and-mouth disease. This time, it's again the livestock's turn as we recently learnt of another biosecurity case. To mitigate the adverse economic impact, the government and private sector must join forces to stimulate the sector, rather than let it tumble downwards.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development recently reported clinical signs of foot and mouth disease in a herd of cattle on a farm in the Molemole District of Limpopo. Events like this can trigger an import ban of South African livestock products - crippling the market in a way that affects much more than the Molemole District.

For example, the last ban had far-reaching ripple effects, extending to sectors such as wool, which, on average, contributes $308-million to the South African economy in export revenue. The last foot and mouth disease outbreak triggered China, which imports 71% of South...

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