ZARABA (Reuters) – Zimbabwe has suspended cattle and meat imports from South Africa for the second time this year after a foot and mouth outbreak in the north of the country, the agriculture ministry said on Friday.
In January, Zimbabwe joined Botswana and the Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly Swaziland, in suspending South African meat imports as a result of highly contagious foot and mouth disease.
The Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement that it had been notified by veterinary services in South Africa that the latest outbreak had been discovered on a farm in Limpopo province, near the Zimbabwean border.
Imports of live cattle, goats, sheep and pigs and related products have been halted as authorities seek to identify the virus and the extent of the outbreak.
"Suspending South African imports is a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Zimbabwean infection," the ministry said.
Foot and mouth disease does not affect humans but poses a threat to cattle, goats and sheep.
Zimbabwe imports South African cattle for breeding as well as meat products. (Reporting by McDonald's; Editing by asoney Neil)