FMD in Bolivia restricts beef exports

BOLIVIA - Bolivia has restricted its beef exports to Peru, Ecuador and Colombia because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, local media report Sunday.
calendar icon 29 January 2007
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The disease was detected in four head of cattle in the western part of the state, where the country's cattle industry in concentrated.

Ernesto Salas, director of the government's National Service for Animal Health and Food Safety, said the industry had to react "in the quickest way possible so that the negative effects are minimized," Santa Cruz newspaper El Mundo reported.

Last year, Bolivia exported about US$10 million (euro8 million) of beef. It was not immediately clear what the financial effect of the restrictions would be.

Santa Cruz Ranchers' Federation President George Prestel told reporters the losses would be significant. He said the government should declare a state of emergency, freeing up resources to fight the disease.

Prestel said the appearance of the disease could derail Bolivia's efforts to be declared free of the disease by the France-based World Organization for Animal Health, which would enabled the country to increase its exports.

He said samples from the affected cattle had been sent outside the country for confirmation.

In 2006, Bolivia had about 500,000 head of cattle vaccinated.

Source: Business Week
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