DA calls on Agriculture Department to unlock biosecurity funds following foot and mouth disease outbreak

The DA calls on the Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) to urgently unlock biosecurity funding and plans in light of the current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in KwaZulu-Natal.

The latest outbreak comes one year after the last outbreak of FMD in Limpopo. At the time of the outbreak, the DA urged the government to improve its livestock biosecurity budget. The Department made a request for an increased budget which was honoured by the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni, in 2020 when he allocated R495 million towards biosecurity. To date, no plans or programmes have been put in place to tackle crops and animal diseases. This year, the department allocated a mere R3 million towards biosecurity.

The current FMD outbreak coincides with the DALRRD struggling to contain the outbreak of locusts and the Avian Flu. The department’s failure to spend its biosecurity budget on real biosecurity programmes is clearly now backfiring.

The DA calls on Minister Didiza and her department to immediately ensure the following:

  • Review the biosecurity budget and plans to contain this current FMD outbreak.
  • Restrict the movement of animals and get buy-in from both commercial and small holder farmers.
  • Work with the municipalities to ensure that by-laws dealing with stray animals are enforced to restrict their movements.
  • Where necessary engage SANDF and SAPS to assist with curbing the movements of animals until the surveillance is completed to stop further spread of the FMD disease.

In the long term, the department must also ensure that clear plans are put together on diseases and pest control management which include inputs from the farmers themselves; annual biosecurity training, especially with smallholder farmers, should be hosted; and the department should provide FMD biosecurity compliance training.

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