Minister Didiza must convene multiparty platform to fight FMD

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
19 Aug 2022 in News

Note to Editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.

The DA has written to the Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, to request the convening of a multiparty platform to find a solution to the spread of foot and mouth disease (FMD) as a matter of urgency.

South Africa is currently battling 116 outbreaks in six of our nine provinces and almost all these provinces have had more than one outbreak.

While FMD is devastating to all farmers affected, the burden is particularly heavy to bear for communal farmers in rural areas. The DA has continually highlighted the steady perpetual decline of the State institutions that are mandated to maintain and ensure animal health. Had Onderstepoort Biological Products and the Agricultural Research Council been fully supported by government and functioning at their full capacity, farmers across the country would not be in danger of having to cull their livestock.

The blame for the poor state of the country’s biosecurity must be placed at the feet of the Minister and her Department (DALLRD) who have failed to implement the agreed upon measure after a two-year engagement with the agriculture industry, which, according to complaints to the DA, excluded communal farmers.

Communal farmers experience a high rate of livestock theft. With government’s dereliction to vaccinate as mandated, these stolen animals could very well be spreading FMD. Many emerging farmers also do not have the financial resilience to weather this storm.

Minister Didiza cannot dally any longer. We need to find practical solutions and implement them as a matter of urgency. FMD puts the livelihoods of many farmers at risk, which in turn affects food security.