Limpopo must be declared a disaster area due to the ongoing foot-and-mouth crisis there.
Jacques Smalle, DA leader in Limpopo, talks about the highly contagious virus that has already infected 30,000 cattle in the province.
Narrow asked Prime Minister Stan Mathabatha on Thursday to declare the province a disaster area.
“It will help us get much-needed money from the National Treasury to combat foot-and-mouth disease,” says Smalle.
According to information from the national department of agriculture, the number of cattle infected with the disease has increased by 3 000 over the past week.
These cattle have been identified in two places in the province.
The virus has already erupted on 18 farms, some of which are feedlots, in the Mogwadi district of Limpopo. It is hundreds of kilometers from the buffer zone of the disease to the Kruger National Park.
Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza placed a nationwide ban on livestock auctions in December to stop the disease from spreading. She told the parliamentary portfolio committee on agriculture on Wednesday that the “foot-and-mouth situation is under control”.
The nationwide ban on livestock auctions will also remain in effect, even though agricultural organizations, the Red Meat Producers’ Organization, the DA and FF Plus have requested that auctions be stopped only in Limpopo.
“We are aware of the economic disadvantages that the ban on livestock auctions has brought, but it has been put in place as a preventative measure,” Didiza said in parliament.
Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for the national department of agriculture, says of the 130 farms that have been tested for foot-and-mouth disease since the outbreak in Limpopo, 87 have tested negative.
Smalle says it is especially small farmers who are badly affected by the ban on livestock auctions.