Brazilian Agriculture minister Roberto Rodrigues publicly admitted that the resurgence of foot and mouth, FAM, outbreaks can be traced to a "softening" of measures to combat the disease.
"For quite some time I was saying that the problem with FAM was not whether it’s going to reappear but rather when and where. I was fearful because I knew of a softening in the control situation", revealed Rodrigues in an interview with the influential O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.
Rodrigues, who on several occasions had complained about the Ministry of Finance delay in liberating the necessary funds to combat FAM, refused to name whom was responsible for slackening FAM control measures.
Since last October 10 when the first case of FAM was officially reported, 21 outbreaks have been confirmed in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul one of Brazil’s main cattle states with a herd of 25 million.
All outbreaks are concentrated in five counties to the south of the state, next to the Paraguayan border, but federal sanitary officials have cordoned 41 counties as risk areas including some in the neighboring state of Paraná where apparently two cases have confirmed positive.
Farmers have warned that beef exports will drop US$ 100 million in November after having lost US$ 68 million in October. Over fifty countries have banned beef and pork imports from Brazil, the world’s main beef exporter.
Cattle farmers, and government officials, admit Brazil is forecasted to suffer losses amounting to US$ 1.7 billion before the situation returns to normal and countries lift the ban.
"One of the problems with the FAM crisis and which hurts me so much, is that innocent people end up paying the consequences for events over which they have no responsibility," highlighted Mr. Rodrigues.
Most of the farms affected so far in Mato Grosso do Sul are small family enterprises.
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