Livestock expos and shows pool resources to improve biosecurity

Joint press release issued by Bloem Show, the Royal Show, Nampo ALFA, Agri-Expo, Nampo Harvest Day and NAMPO Cape.

The presenters and organisers of six of South Africa’s biggest livestock events, have jointly committed themselves to a science-based biosecurity protocol for the hosting of their various events in 2020, as well as in future.

The statement follows a meeting at the offices of Plaas Media’s in Centurion, Gauteng, on 16 January 2020. The parties present at the meeting were Elmarie Prinsloo, CEO of Bloem Show, Terry Strachan, CEO of the Royal Show in Pietermaritzburg, Albert Loubser, co-organiser of Nampo ALFA in Bothaville, well-known veterinary consultant, Dr Faffa Malan, as well as Dr Danie Odendaal, director of Veterinarian Network. Johan Ehlers, CEO of Agri-Expo, the presenter of Agri-Expo Livestock, and Toit Wessels, general manager of Nampo, participated in the meeting electronically.

The current outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease was the main driving force and topic of the meeting, and served as the starting point for finding solutions to present the abovementioned livestock events in 2020 and in future, against the background of and with consideration to biosecurity matters. The ultimate goal of the meeting was to establish a set of best practices at each of the various events, in order to serve the industry holistically and in the best interest of exhibitors.

Prevention is better than cure

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in 2019 and the subsequent second outbreak early in 2020, once again emphasised the importance of biosecurity among all stakeholders in the livestock industry. The onus is on all agricultural role-players to prevent and properly manage these types of incidents – it is not just a function of government. Therefore, all six representatives of the relevant livestock events undertook to work with the various authorities to actively support biosecurity measures.

However, efforts are also being made to take the process a step further, and the envisioned outcome is the initiation and implementation of a biosecurity protocol specifically aimed at livestock events. Support will also be provided to smaller regional shows to help them to implement such a biosecurity protocol.

The six events involved in the meeting, and which will implement the protocol from the outset, will take place on the following dates in 2020: Bloem Show 24 April to 2 May, Nampo Harvest Day 12 to 15 May, the Royal Show 22 to 31 May, Nampo Cape 9 to 11 September, Nampo ALFA 24 to 26 September and Agri-Expo Livestock 8 to 10 October. Dr Danie Odendaal, director of Veterinarian Network, will be contracted by all six role-players to develop the protocol that will allow the six events and their organisers to act in a co-ordinated manner with regard to biosecurity. The events hope to serve as an example for other events and exhibitors, thereby further rolling out the protocol and setting a national standard for best biosecurity practices.

The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.