Rwanda will have to find an alternative source to fully meet her needs in meat, vegetables and fruits after suspending meat and fruits from South Africa for health precautions.
Effective December 19th, Rwanda suspended imports of meat, milk and its derivatives, fruits and cabbages from South Africa due to Listeriosis, a disease that has been identified in the Southern part of Africa.
The South Africa Health Ministry announced on December 19th, that 557 people have been diagnosed with the disease and 36 died since December 12, 2017.
From that announcement, Rwanda took appropriate decision to protect her people.
“Following reports of ‘Listeriosis’ disease outbreak in South Africa and the damages it has made, all imports and business of meat, milk and its derivatives, fruits and cabbages from South Africa is suspended until further notice,” reads an announcement signed by Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry(Minagri).
Information from the Ministry indicates that on monthly basis, Rwanda imports on average 2.4 tons of beef from South Africa, mainly to supply country’s hotels. This makes 28.8 tons of meat annually.
Rwanda also imports 60 tons of fruits (oranges, apples, kiwis, pears and grapes) annually and small quantites of cheese.
Minister Mukeshimana urged leaders and security organs, airport and border agents to be vigilant in implementing these measures until the disease is contained.
She also urges farmers, veterinary doctors to report any suspicious case of a livestock with symptoms of Listeriosis to the Rwanda Agriculture Board.
Listeriosis is a food poisoning caused by eating foods contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium.
Livestock, elderly people and patients of incurable disease are the most vulnerable to this disease.
Symptoms of Literiosis include fever, muscle aches, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea.
If infection spreads to the nervous system, symptoms such as headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, or convulsions can occur.
This year in June Rwanda had also temporally banned importation of poultry products from South Africa and Zimbabwe due to another outbreak of avian influenza, commonly known as Bird-Flu.