Zimbabwe has with immediate effect suspended the importation of cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and pigs as well as related products from South Africa.
Concerned with the notification by South African veterinary authorities of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Limpopo Province earlier this month, the Zimbabwean government has reacted swiftly by imposing a ban on imported related livestock products, pending an improvement of the situation.

A statement from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Department of Veterinary Services advised the public and stakeholders of the ban on the importation of live cattle, goats, sheep and pigs from South Africa.

The move is among other factors being made in line with the health provisions of the country and the need to sustain the meat value chain in a manner that does not have negative effects on the consumers or buyers.

The Department of Veterinary Services said South Africa is currently in the process of identifying the virus strain, the extent of the outbreak and conducting backward and forward tracing to determine possible origins and locations to which the disease might have spread.

Meat imports continue to be another constraint to the government’s efforts towards reducing the import bill within the country.

However, it is being anticipated that the allocation of adequate funds for the revival of the national herd will have positive implications in ensuring a low-cost meat sector value chain.

Government efforts to revive the Cold Storage Company have been cited as another initiative aimed at stamping out imports of meat, thereby saving millions in foreign currency.