September 9, 2011
South Africa will resume shipments of unprocessed wool to China for the first time in more than a year after an agreement was reached between the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) over the issuing of health clearance certificates pertaining to Rift Valley Fever (RVF).
According to the agreement, wool shorn three months after the last reported outbreak of RVF in a municipal area will be eligible for export to China. AQSIQ also suggested that it would like to start using the new certificates by Sept. 15.
Wool shorn while a municipality was still affected, however, will not be eligible for export to China. However, should a provincial state veterinarian issue a veterinary certificate stating that there have been no cases of RVF reported on the producer's farm for the three months immediately prior to the date of shearing, such a clip will also qualify for export.
Raw-wool exports to China, the largest importer of South African wool before RVF struck livestock, were halted in August 2010 following the first outbreak of the virus in South Africa since the 1970s. The last incidence of the fever was reported in May, Ona Viljoen, a spokeswoman for Cape Wools, said by telephone from Port Elizabeth, South Africa's main wool export harbor.
Although there is scientific proof that RVF cannot be transmitted via wool, AQSIQ insisted that every export batch be certified by a state veterinarian that it originated from an area that was free from RVF.
"Thankfully, demand was very strong from Europe during the last marketing season, and that made up for the shortfall from China," Viljoen said. "We saw no stocks building up."
Reprinted in part from Bloomberg