DA’s pressure leads to timely vaccines for farmers, saving livestock and boosting agricultural sector

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
01 Jun 2023 in News

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

The Democratic Alliance welcomes the recent development where horse owners will again be able to vaccinate their animals against African horse sickness (AHS). This after Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) indicated that they successfully produced and supplied vaccines to animal pharmaceutical companies for sale to farmers, just in time for the upcoming vaccination period in June. This achievement would not have been possible without the relentless pressure exerted by the Democratic Alliance. It is a testament to our party’s commitment to getting things done.

While we appreciate the release of vaccines, it is disheartening to note that the damage has already been done, with many horse and sheep farmers losing their livestock due to the prolonged vaccine shortage. We urge the government and OBP to extend their reach to all horse farmers, particularly those in rural Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal, where the death rate among horses has been alarmingly high. These farmers heavily rely on their horses for various activities, such as transportation, planting, and riding. They play a vital role in the food system for neglected subsistence and small-scale farmers.

For the past two years, the Democratic Alliance has consistently highlighted the vaccine shortage issue to Minister Thoko Didiza and her department. Despite our efforts, the response from Minister Didiza and OBP has been inadequate, leaving us with no choice but to petition for the release of OBP vaccine strains to the private sector. This petition garnered significant support, with over 11,000 signatures from farmers and industry players.

Furthermore, the petition, will soon be presented before the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development. We remain committed to finding sustainable solutions to ensure adequate vaccine supply and protect our valuable livestock.

The Democratic Alliance’s unwavering dedication to addressing the vaccine shortage issue has yielded results, and we will continue to champion the interests of farmers and the agricultural sector as a whole. Our party’s track record exemplifies our ability to get things done, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to serving the people of this great nation.