Saving The Livestock Industry From Covid-19
Farmer's Weekly|June 5 & 12, 2020
The COVID-19 global pandemic represents a grave societal threat. In a recent policy brief, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations explains how the livestock sector has been affected, and recommends how to protect the sector and its activities to preserve their contribution to food security and the livelihood of rural communities.

The effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic on the livestock sector are still largely unquantified and yet to be fully felt. While formal assessments have not been possible so far, current observations reveal disruptions to livestock value chains in many countries.

Restrictions on movement and the need for physical distancing to keep people safe and slow down the spread of COVID-19, along with requirements for additional personal protective equipment, are reducing the efficiency of industrial feed enterprises. In addition, movement restrictions and illness are resulting in labour shortages and reduced supply of raw materials. For example, the disruption of supply routes has delayed feed supply. In Argentina, the world’s largest soya bean meal exporter, restrictions have reduced soya bean supply to feed factories by half. Movement restrictions have also disrupted the ability of pastoralists to move their livestock to new grazing ground, making it difficult for them to feed the animals.

Disruption of national and international trade routes has also impeded the ability of farmers to access breeding material and replacement stock, and this, in turn, could compromise sales for input providers. The disruption of public services (food safety inspection and animal health extension services in particular), combined with the interrupted delivery and use of vaccines and medicines, has increased the likelihood of outbreaks of serious livestock diseases, such as African swine fever in East and South East Asia, as well as zoonoses.

REDUCED ACCESS TO MARKETS

Another impact of the pandemic and related trade restrictions has been the closure of live animal markets in many countries, which has made it difficult for small-scale producers to sell their goods. The effect of poor market access has been exacerbated by lower consumer demand, which has seen prices fall. US pork prices, for example, dropped about 27% in just over a week in April.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FARMER'S WEEKLYView All

Sustaining a community-owned game reserve in tough times

COVID-19’s disastrous impact has necessitated change and adaptability in even the most rural parts of South Africa. The management of Somkhanda Community Game Reserve spoke to Lloyd Phillips about their efforts to keep this jewel of conservation and ecotourism alive and moving forward in the face of adversity.

7 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Why vaccines are so important for your animals

Many medications are available for treating diseases and other problems, such as worms, in livestock. But by far the most important treatment you can give your animals is vaccinations against the diseases that occur in your area. Shane Brody explains why vaccines are different to other medicines, and why they are so effective.

3 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Controlling the cat's claw creeper

The leaf-tying moth has been released as a biological control agent against this invasive alien plant.

2 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Unlocking the potential of solar energy

With solar energy becoming increasingly affordable and reliable, more and more farmers are using it to reduce their electricity costs and dependence on Eskom power. Claude Peters of RenEnergy spoke to Glenneis Kriel about this trend.

7 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Why an integrated approach is best

Farmers are finding more and more natural enemies to keep tomato leaf miners in check instead of resorting solely to chemicals, says Bill Kerr.

3 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Empowerment through education

Young Bonsmara farmer Keneilwe Raphesu knew the path to achieving her dreams lay in further training, so she joined a development programme for emerging farmers. She spoke to Siyanda Sishuba about the lessons she has learnt so far.

5 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Land rights of SA's forgotten people

In this article, Prof Philippe Burger, pro-vice-chancellor of Poverty, Inequality and Economic Development at the University of the Free State, writes that South Africa is failing the poorest of the poor by not developing legislation that would strengthen the land rights of people who are living in communal areas.

5 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

The Boer goat mentor who's changing lives

Stud Boer goat breeder Desré Ferreira from Vryburg in North West provides a valuable support network to developing and commercial Boer goat farmers. She started mentoring a group of about 30 farmers a decade ago, and now supports 150. Annelie Coleman reports.

6 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Dealing with external parasites on chickens

These pests can cause severe problems for small-flock poultry producers (and occasionally large-flock producers) by disturbing the birds and affecting their growth and egg production. They can also spread disease.

2 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021

Avoiding slippery mistakes with bananas

The humble banana is usually taken for granted by consumers, but growing this popular fruit can be tricky, expensive and involve considerable risk. Having top-performing banana plantations starts with the proper establishment of the crop. Brothers Riaan and WJ Heystek shared their experiences of setting up their banana enterprise with Lloyd Phillips.

8 mins read
Farmer's Weekly
April 23, 2021