Empty shop shelves as FMD ban picks up momentum

Consumers at the coast must get used to empty shop shelves when it comes to products like milk, bacon, cheese, polonies, canned beef, luncheon rolls, processed products like pre-prepared frozen pizzas and certain frozen foods. Also included are all products produced from game meat and pork.

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in South Africa necessitated the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry this week to ban the import of South African meat and other products processed from cloven hooved animals which include cattle, sheep, goats, game and pigs. The ban also includes the live-transit of these animals to Namibia if it originated from South Africa.

The Agriculture Ministry announced the import ban on Wednesday and said it was instituted with immediate effect. Hours later, shops at the coast published notices to that effect on shop shelves. By late yesterday many shops had empty spaces in the diary and canned meat product sections. The cold meats sections also had large empty spaces where South African products were displayed to the consumer barely two days earlier.
FMD were detected in South Africa’s Limpopo Province’s Vhembe District. The district is an FMD-free area. On Monday, soon after the animal disease was detected, the South African authorities had to report it to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
Namibia’s response was a blanket import ban on all cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and antelope products. That is despite FMD at this stage only con-firmed in the Vhembe district.

Inquiries directed to the Meat Board of Namibia confirmed the various products that would now not be available on the Namibian shop shelves.
An official also confirmed Namibia is about 70 % self-reliant when it comes to beef, sheep, pig and chicken meat. The Namibian consumer would therefore not be totally left out in the cold. The biggest threat though is price increases on Namibian meat products and supply shortages should the ban be in place for too long, according to this official.

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