High maize prices and a downward spiral of beef prices are putting pressure on cattle farmers and could see many in the beef industry going out of business. The situation has been worsened by a debilitating drought, a stagnant economy and the foot-and-mouth disease that broke out in Limpopo in January. The World Organisation for Animal Health temporarily suspended SA’s disease-free zone status. This has seen neighbouring countries closing their borders. Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini and Mozambique announced a ban on SA meat imports pending the containment of the disease. Foot-and-mouth can infect people through wounds or the mucous membranes in the mouth after handling infected stock, or by drinking infected milk. But it is not introduced by eating meat from infected animals. Generally, the infection of humans is temporary and is not considered a major public health hazard. “The last few months have not been easy for the South African beef industry, which has been hard hit b...

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