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The latest outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the country poses a major risk to beef production, which is worth about R35 billion a year, and livestock auctions, with an annual turnover of about R85 billion.

The spread of the highly contagious viral disease among cloven-hoofed animals has virtually stopped the export of beef – an industry worth at least R2 billion a year.

Had it not been for the outbreak, growth in the agricultural sector could have been pushed up by up to R12 billion year, experts say.

Now primary producers have to watch the value of their herds declining.

Red meat industry growth and exports hampered by foot- and- mouth disease | Citypress (