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The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted its petition to parliament in which we are calling on the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, and her department to release Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) vaccine strains to the private sector so that they can assist with the production of vaccines. The goal is to save the livestock industry and protect food security. The petition, published on the platform change.org has garnered over 11 000 signatures.
This is a clear protest message against minister Didiza, her department and OBP’s inability to produce vaccines on time and in the correct quantities for the livestock farmers. The livestock industry is experiencing a difficult time largely due to the shortage of vaccines. Videos and pictures of dying horses are circulating online almost daily and farmers are calling for help to no avail.
Read more about Onderstepoort Biological Products.
Despite repeatedly reporting these issues to the minister, the parliamentary portfolio committee and the department’s director general, efforts have been ignored. Task teams have been assembled but nothing tangible has been implemented. This inaction prompted farmers and the DA to initiate the petition to place the spotlight on the ever-growing vaccine issue.
The energy crisis’ effect on agriculture
The sad state of affairs is worsened by load shedding. During our visit to NAMPO, farmers indicated that prices for their livestock have dropped due to reduced demand from abattoirs. A combination of dying herds and reduced prices fetched at auctions make livestock farming very challenging.
Read more about Design Biologix’s bluetongue vaccine.
Access to the export market would’ve been the most critical price stabilizer for livestock and animal product prices. However, access to the export market requires effective animal disease management and biosecurity. This can be best achieved through the collaboration of the private sector and government to ensure functioning biosecurity and extension services as well as the timeous availability of vaccines. The ANC government has failed to manage controlled and notable diseases. This led to SA being banned from exporting animals and animal products.
Small-scale farmers whose livestock is also their livelihood, face difficulties due to a drop in cattle and sheep prices as a result of an indifferent ANC government. – Press release, Democratic Alliance (DA)