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Chinese authorities have suspended SA’s wool imports because of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, leaving the agricultural sector reeling. Wool is ranked the sixth largest exportable commodity in the agricultural sector in 2018 after oranges, grapes, wine and apples. In the same year, wool accounted for 4% of SA’s agricultural exports of $10.6bn, the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz) said. Foot-and-mouth disease broke out in Limpopo in January, resulting in the World Organisation for Animal Health temporarily suspending SA’s foot-and-mouth disease-free zone status. Neighbouring countries including Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini and Mozambique announced a complete ban on importing SA meat pending the containment of the disease. In a market update on Monday, Wandile Sihlobo, the head of agribusiness research at Agbiz, said what made the Chinese decision particularly concerning was its significant contribution to exports. Over the past five years China accounted for an aver...

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