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South Africa Suspends Wool, Mohair Exports to China

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- South Africa halted raw wool and mohair exports to China because it couldn’t guarantee they were from areas free of Rift Valley fever, the Cape Wools sheep-farmers association said, citing a government statement.

From tomorrow, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will no longer issue certificates clearing shipments for Rift Valley fever, a livestock disease that can infect humans, Cape Wools said. It’s become “ethically impossible” to certify that the wool is from areas free of the disease, the association said, citing the department.

China’s veterinary authority requires the department to certify that wool deliveries are disease-free. South Africa’s raw wool exports to China, the largest importer of the nation’s wool, totaled 933 million rand ($129 million) last year, Cape Wools said.

In most cases of human infection, Rift Valley fever is “relatively mild” and of short duration, according to the World Health Organization. The illness causes deadly hemorrhagic fever in less than 1 percent of human patients, it said.

In animals, the severity of the disease is linked to age, with more than 90 percent of infected lambs dying, compared with as few as 10 percent of adult sheep, according to the WHO.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ron Derby in Johannesburg at rderby1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

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