Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has appointed a ministerial task team on animal biosecurity with special emphasis on foot and mouth disease, African swine fever and highly pathogenic avian influenza.

“The purpose of this task team is to find mechanisms and provide recommendations on a range of key decisions whereby a collaborative initiative between government and private sector through a public private partnership (PPP) can be established to tackle the country’s animal biosecurity issues,” said departmental spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.

“The task team will also be responsible for issues which will include and not limited to realistic strategies with the intent to have an outcome that can be implemented by affected stakeholders.”

Ngcobo said the team of experts will also focus on the complexity of the overall animal and public health system in a “one health” approach, and liaise with technical task teams of African swine fever, foot and mouth disease and avian influenza.

“It [the team] will consider the roles of provincial government laboratories and private sector laboratories in disease monitoring, residue tests, meat hygiene with emphasis on all stakeholders’ consideration,” he said.

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development reform said the team comprises Professor Johann Kirsten, Dr Kgabi Mogajane, Dr Gideon Bruckner and Dr Shadrack Moephuli.

Earlier this month, Didiza updated the nation of the foot and mouth disease, saying at least 22 positive locations had been identified and placed under quarantine.

She said these locations comprise two clusters of dip tanks in communal grazing land as well as two commercial feedlots.

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