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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

Sombere verslag oor diere-biosekuriteit in Suid-Afrika beklemtoon die behoefte aan dringende optrede | Grim report on animal biosecurity in South Africa highlights need for urgent action

11 Mei 2023

Agri SA verwelkom die bekendmaking van die diere-biosekuriteit-taakspan se verslag. Die taakspan is aangestel om met die kwessie van diere-biosekuriteit te handel en die rol van di regering in dié verband. Ons bedank die minister vir die vrystelling van die verslag. Gefinaliseer in Mei 2022, is dit uiteindelik bekend gemaak is ná volgehoue druk deur die sektor.

Die openbaarmaking van die verslag kom te midde van ’n entstoftekort wat verwoesting in die veesektor saai. Die verslag verwys na talle ernstige mislukkings in die veeartsenykundige en diere-biosekuriteitstelsels in die land en beskryf die stelsels as ‘gebroke’. Die probleme wat geïdentifiseer word is verreikend, van institusionele ontwerp- en begrotingsbeperkings tot produksiebeperkings by Onderstepoort Biologiese Produkte Beperk (OBP). Hierdie bevindings bevestig wat die sektor herhaaldelik geopper het, en beklemtoon die omvang van die bedreiging wat biosekuriteitsmislukkings vir voedselsekerheid in die land inhou.

Dit is nou van kritieke belang dat die regering, in vennootskap met die sektor, dringend hierdie probleme aanpak. Die aangeleentheid moet hoë voorkeur kry van die Departement van Landbou, Grondhervorming en Landelike Ontwikkeling (DALRRD). Verder moet die OBP-bestuur wat verantwoordelik is vir die tydige vervaardiging van entstowwe, asook ander DALRRD-amptenare wat verantwoordelik is vir biosekuriteitsbestuur, aanspreeklik gehou word vir enige versuim om betyds te reageer op die aanbevelings in die verslag.

Die verslag beklemtoon ook besluitnemingsprosesse in die regering, wat gekenmerk word deur ’n wantroue in die private sektor. Dit het gelei tot die regering se volgehoue weiering om groter betrokkenheid van die private sektor te fasiliteer, soos herhaaldelik deur die sektor uitgewys. Noudat die probleem geïdentifiseer is as ’n hindernis tot doeltreffende biosekuriteit, moet die oplossing daarvan geprioritiseer word. Dit is die enigste manier om te verseker dat die land voldoende en geredelik beskikbare entstowwe het, en dat tydige ingrypings geïmplementeer word om uitbrake van dieresiektes te voorkom en te bestuur.

Die Suid-Afrikaanse landbousektor staar talle uitdagings in die gesig, maar biosekuriteit is waarskynlik een van die ernstigste probleme. Met die ware toestand van biosekuriteit wat nou bekend gemaak is, moet die uitdagings wat geïdentifiseer word sonder versuim aangespreek word. Suid-Afrika se voedselsekerheid hang daarvan af.

Navrae:

Christo van der Rheede

Agri SA: Hoof- uitvoerende beampte

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11 May 2023

Agri SA welcomes the release of the report by the Task Team on Animal Biosecurity. The task team was appointed to deal with the issue of animal biosecurity and the role of the state in this regard. We thank the Minister for the release of the report. Completed already in May 2022, it has finally been made public after persistent lobbying by the sector.

The release of the report comes amid a vaccine shortage that is wreaking havoc in the livestock sector. The report details numerous and serious failings in the veterinary and animal biosecurity systems in the country, describing the systems as ‘broken’. The problems identified are far-reaching, from institutional design and budgetary constraints to production constraints at Onderstepoort Biological Products Limited (OBP). These findings validate the concerns the sector has repeatedly raised and highlight the magnitude of the threat biosecurity failures pose to the country’s food security.

Of critical importance now is that government, in partnership with the sector, works to tackle the problems identified with great urgency. This matter must be a priority of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD). Similarly, the management of OBP, who are responsible for the timely manufacturing of vaccines, and other DALRRD officials responsible for biosecurity management must be held accountable for failures to act timeously on the recommendations in the report.

The report also highlights decision-making processes in government characterised by a distrust of the private sector. This has led to a repeated refusal to facilitate greater private sector involvement in this space, a concern the sector has raised repeatedly. Now that the issue has been identified as an impediment to effective biosecurity, the resolution of this intractable problem must be prioritised. This is the only way to ensure that the country has sufficient and readily available vaccines and that timely interventions are implemented to prevent and manage animal disease outbreaks.

The South African agricultural sector faces many urgent challenges, but biosecurity must be recognised as one of the most pressing. With the report on the true state of biosecurity now made public, we have no time to waste in addressing the challenges it identifies. South Africa’s food security depends on it.

Enquiries:

Christo van der Rheede

Agri SA: Chief Executive Officer