VICTORIA Falls, June 30 (The Source) — Zimbabwe will not be exporting beef anytime soon because of regular outbreaks of foot-and-mouth (FMD) disease and government does not have resources to eliminate the disease, according to deputy agriculture minister, Paddy Zhanda.
The southern African nation has experienced regular outbreaks of FMD — a highly contagious disease of cloven-hoofed animals — in recent times in cattle-rich regions of Matabeleland and Midlands, which killed hundreds of cattle in those regions over the past four years.
“Zimbabwe will not export for the meantime because of foot-and-mouth and we don’t have resources to deal with. (It is government’s responsibility to deal with diseases like) foot-and-mouth and newcastle but we do not have that capacity,” Zhanda told delegates at the on-going Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress in Victoria Falls on Thursday.
Zimbabwe needs to achieve a FMD-free zone status before resuming exports. In 2015, it procured and delivered over 450,000 doses of vaccine to different parts of the country where there is active FMD infection.
Zhanda said the private sector should start financing operations to eliminate the diseases, he added.
“We have to find a formula. The private sector must come in and start financing their own operations,” he said.
Zimbabwe suspended beef exports to the European Union and other countries in 2001 when the state-owned Cold Storage Company, at one time the largest meat processor in Africa, collapsed due to persistent outbreaks of FMD.
The EU was Zimbabwe’s main beef export market, followed by South Africa, with which it had an agreement for an annual export quota of 5,500 tonnes.