Government has banned, with immediate effect, the importation of meat products from South Africa.
This follows confirmed reports of foot and mouth disease (FMD) that has hit the rainbow nation and other neighbouring countries.
In a press release dated January 25 2019, Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Principal Secretary Grey Nyandule Phiri says government is currently in consultation with veterinary authorities within the region and shall continue to update the public and specific stakeholders on any changes in the status.
And speaking in an interview on Friday, the ministry’s director of animal health and livestock development Patrick Chikungwa said the ban extends to in-transit movement of all cloven hooved animals, including cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs.
“This means all meat products from the said country and any other known infected ones are banned. The ministry has done this to protect the health of its citizens and the country’s herd in conformity with the Control and Animal Diseases Act (Cap 66:22) and the World Animal Health Organisation,” he said.
Chikungwa added that the ban also temporarily suspend issuance of livestock movement permits on such imports from South Africa and other known infected countries.
He could not give details on how much meat and meat products the country imports from South Africa-which supplies most of them across the country’s supermarkets-but was quick to say people should not panic.
“In fact, this should be a blessing in disguise to the local supplier. We can confirm that the local market can suffice for all our meat needs in this event. After all, the local meat industry has improved over the years in terms of quality and quantity,” said Chikungwa.
Foot and mouth is a highly contagious viral disease that mostly affects cattle and has significant negative socio-economic consequences if not timely controlled.
It is usually spread through infected animals that have been newly introduced into a herd, infected meat or animal products.n