Leon de Beer, general manager of the National Woolgrowers Association (NWGA), has shared information on the impact of the current FMD outbreak in Limpopo, meeting with the state veterinarian.

De Beer said the NWGA is working closely with Cape Wools SA and other industry partners, including Mohair SA and the National Animal Health Forum (NAHF), to find workable solutions so that wool exports can continue.

Wool to Egypt

Wool destined for Egypt cannot be certified according to current requirements, since the FMD cases in the FMD free zone  have been reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (the OIE). Egypt accepts wool only from countries certified FMD free by the OIE.

Wool to Europe

The current situation has no influence on wool exports to Europe. This may change if the European authorities announce that they will set certain limits.

Wool to China and India

Wool destined for China and India can still be certified for export under the current export certificate. However, the exporter must sign an indemnity form given the possibility that the importing country could reject the wool because of SA’s FMD status. The exporter bears the export costs and the Department of Agriculture will not accept any financial responsibility for certified exports that are rejected.

The certification requirements of China and India stipulate that the wool may be certified for export if it is from an area that is free of FMD. Given that South African wool has excellent traceability and that very little wool is produced in Limpopo, wool may be certified, and exports may continue.

The bottom line is that the acceptance of wool from South Africa remains the prerogative of the importer. According to De Beer this is an issue that must be handled by the government and clarified with the country’s trade partners. “This process has already started,” De Beer said.

A special meeting of the NAHF is scheduled for 13 January in Pretoria to formulate a workable strategy, to be presented to the minister and to the director of animal health at a meeting scheduled for 14 January, also in Pretoria. – Press release