By Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB
The lifting of the ban on livestock auctions is a welcome relieve for producers, auctioneers, feedlots and other stakeholders across the value chain. The market can now return to normality and correct the supply imbalance that was caused by the ban.
Initially, the Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), outbreak of 2019 in January and November respectively brought about urgency towards improvement of biosecurity in the country. This saw the industry stakeholders and government’s efforts converging towards the implementation of a Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS),an initiative that is already in place in Namibia. The initiative will see the LITS-SA being operated as a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with proposed funding from both government and industry. The speed at which the country has dealt with the Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), both with the resumption of exports in 2019 and the lifting of the ban on auctions in the announcement today is commendable.
The recurrence of the FMD in November 2019 in the Molemole District in Limpopo at the time resulted in the banning of live auctions across the country and further limiting the country’s export potential due to restrictions. Cash strapped cattle producers faced financial pressures as they could not easily market their livestock and where it was possible, the costs associated with compliance were prohibitive.
Nonetheless, the FMD situation is not declared over yet and activities in the value chain must be conducted along strict measures that have already been implemented.