The Rwandan Government says it does not have immediate plans to lift the ban, which was imposed on the importation of meat, dairy products and vegetables from South Africa nearly two years ago over a bacterial disease commonly known as listeriosis.
Rwanda still waiting for declaration of safety
Rwanda says it is still waiting for an internationally recognised body to declare that the danger is over.
“We waited for a South African government regulatory body as well as an international recognised body to declare that the danger was over and this never came. In addition, there was no recall of products and you cannot rely on any other avenue other than officially recognised channels for declaration of safety,” said Dr Théogène Rutagwenda, director general of livestock at the Ministry of Agriculture.
No need for imports
The animal product certification officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Denyse Mukamana, says that unless the product is new, there was no need for Rwanda to import things that are being produced locally.
“No new communication about the ban has been done but we also don’t really have to import things like poultry when we are producing them locally. But when it comes to things like turkey meat that we don’t produce locally, then you can write and explain why you need to be certified to import,” she explained.
Before the ban, Rwanda imported up to 60 tons of fruit from South Africa annually, including oranges, apples, kiwis, pears and grapes while hotels alone imported 2,4 tons of beef from South Africa every month.
The ban came into force on December 2017 after listeriosis claimed 60 people in South Africa. The death toll has since surpassed 180. – Nasra Bishumba, New Times