Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

Young boys are seen herding cattle in Sudan in this file picture. (Shutterstock photo)
Updated 18 October 2019

Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

  • Sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was found positive of Rift Valley fever
  • Livestock imports from Somalia had earlier been banned, says Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has announced a ban on importing livestock from Sudan and Djibouti.

The ministry said the ban is a response to the announcement of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) concerning documented cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Sudan. 

In addition, a sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was positive and thus was not cleared.

According to the ministry, Saudi Arabia imported 5 million heads of cattle from Sudan and 700,000 from Djibouti during the last Hijri year, prior to the ban.

The spokesman for the ministry, Abdullah Abalkhail, said that alternative sources include GCC, Jordan, Uruguay, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Georgia, Portugal, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Romania, as well as Chinese Mongolia, Argentine, Brazil and the US.

These countries can hardly compete with African states, said Al-Jadani, due to prices, different weather and customer demand. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said 5 ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.
  • He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.
  • Prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected, said Al-Jadani.
  • Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of rift valley fever were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and northern Darfur. 

The domestic livestock, he added, covers the demand of a very low percentage of the market and the price of local sheep are very high.

All shipments are examined at their point of arrival and only healthy animals are allowed into the local market.

 

Regulations

The ministry has already banned livestock imports from Somalia.

“The ministry studies each country individually to put health regulations in line with the OIE and we follow up daily reports from the OIE to reduce the spread of the diseases among animals and people,” Abalkhail said.

Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said five ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.

He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.

According Al-Jadani, prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected in the coming period.

The ministry has called on those working in the sector to contact officials on the hotline 8002470000 if they find any suspicious cases.

A fine up to SR1 million ($267,000) will be imposed on any company contravening the ban.

Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of RVF were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and Northern Darfur. According to the World Health Organization Sudan witnessed a huge RVF outbreak in 2007, while in Saudi Arabia RVF spread back in 2000.

The World Bank noted previously that six zoonotic diseases between 1997 and 2009 have led to a loss of $80 billion.

Officials believe that only through collaboration between various authorities in the health, biology and environment sectors the disease can be controlled.


Qassim governor honors Saudi woman for medicine delivery app

Updated 49 min 20 sec ago

Qassim governor honors Saudi woman for medicine delivery app

  • Maryam bint Hamad Al-Mutairi dedicated her smartphone app to delivering medicine to people in Unaizah for free

BURAIDAH: Prince Faisal bin Mishaal, the governor of Qassim, on Sunday honored citizen Maryam bint Hamad Al-Mutairi for her charitable contribution to measures against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Unaizah.

Al-Mutairi dedicated her smartphone app to delivering medicine to people in Unaizah for free. She has also been providing free services to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including distributing hand sanitizers, masks and gloves.

The governor of Qassim praised the great work by the people of Saudi Arabia.

He also referred to the efforts of the government and the health sector to fight the pandemic, improve the efficiency of preventive measures and the quality of health care services.

Prince Faisal, joined by the director general of Qassim health affairs, Mutlaq bin Daghaim Al-Kham’ali, thanked Al-Mutairi for her great national initiative.

Al-Mutairi thanked the governor for his gesture, which reflects his keenness to keep up with the social initiatives undertaken by the people to overcome COVID-19.

She added that she aims to give back to the country that has offered her a lot, adding that it is her national duty.