GABORONE- Botswana said on Monday it had banned imports of cloven-hoofed animals and their fresh products from South Africa after an outbreak of foot and mouth disease was detected in the neighbouring country.
The Ministry of Agriculture said it would no longer import live animals, their fresh products as well as veldt grass, bedding and manure contaminated products and vehicles from its southern neighbour to protect its lucrative cattle industry. Botswana is one of the largest beef exporters to the European Union but has often suspended sales in the past due to foot and mouth disease outbreaks from its neighbouring countries. Beef exports amounted to $61 million in 2019, according to Botswana’s central bank data.
The disease, which causes lesions and lameness in infected animals, was detected in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province last week after local veterinary officials noticed cattle showing suspicious lesions. South Africa said it was investigating the extent of the outbreak.
Foot and mouth disease does not affect humans but poses a threat to cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, goats and sheep.