Agri SA said in a recent press release that it wishes to congratulate the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) on coordinating South Africa’s response to the ban on the export of wool and animal skins to China. South Africa exports billions of rand worth of wool and animal skins to China each year. The ban placed and enormous financial burden on the livestock sector.

The foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in January 2019, resulted in the suspension of South Africa’s FMD-status and a subsequent ban on wool and animal skin exports to China. Agri SA together with its affiliates and DAFF, have since been engaging with the Chinese authorities to show that South Africa’s wool and skins are safe for export. Following these efforts, the Chinese authorities announced the lifting of the ban last week.

Partnerships paved the way

“DAFF managed to swiftly form a partnership with several captains of industry in the livestock sector,” said Dr Pieter Prinsloo, chairperson of the Agri SA’s Commodity Chamber.

“The FMD steering committee managed to contain the disease and established plans to improve biosecurity practices in hot spots. Although we are yet to comply with all of the various requirements set out in the OIE standards, we are closer to lifting the ban on wool, thanks to the combined efforts of the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF) and DAFF.

“We would like to congratulate both Dr Botlhe Modisane, the chief director of Animal Production and Health at DAFF, and Dr Pieter Vervoort, head of the NAHF, for the leadership role they played.”

A work in progress

Agri SA together with representatives from the South African Feedlot Association (SAFA), the Skin, Hide and Leather Council (SHALC), Cape Wools and the National Wool Growers Association (NWGA), met with deputy minister Sifiso Buthelezi and director general Mike Mlengana to discuss the status of wool and animal exports to China.

“Although we are still in the process of regaining our FMD-free status, we celebrate the success of this private public partnership,” said Jolanda Andrag, head of the Agri SA’s Commodity Chamber. Agri SA will continue to work closely with DAFF and the relevant industry players on this matter. – Press release