South Africa is in talks with the European Union about exporting meat to the 28-member economic block, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said.
“South Africa is still negotiating market access,” he told reporters today in the capital, Pretoria. “These were lucrative markets prior to South Africa losing its foot and mouth disease-free status in 2011,” he said.
The embargo on exports of both beef and game meat to certain countries in 2011 because of the FMD outbreak cost the nation an estimated R4 billion, he said. The World Organization for Animal Health declared South Africa free of the disease in February.
“We sent them a dossier last year after February to say that we would like to resume trade,” Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Acting Deputy Director-General Mooketsa Ramasodi said. “What needs to happen now is they will have to look into sending a technical team to assess on possibilities of resuming trade with us. They will determine if our meat is fit for them to import into their region.”
The department is looking into vaccinating 500 000 cattle in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, he said.
The country is seeking new export markets for both beef and game meats such as kudu and impala, and is targeting parts of Asia, Zokwana said. A delegation of Chinese officials will be coming to assess the possibilities of this happening, he said.
South Africa’s animal farming industry, including livestock, dairy and meat products, is worth about R50 billion annually, Department of Agriculture Director-General Edith Vries said.
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