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Ban on livestock imports from Romania lifted

By Hana Namrouqa - Apr 18,2015 - Last updated at Apr 18,2015

AMMAN — The Ministry of Agriculture on Saturday lifted an eight-month ban on the import of livestock from Romania, where bluetongue disease was reported, according to officials.

The decision to resume imports was announced after an Agriculture Ministry delegation concluded a visit to Romania and inspected the health condition of its livestock, the officials said.

Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said the decision was taken after the country was declared free from bluetongue disease.

“As the fasting month of Ramadan is approaching, it is essential to ensure that enough red meat is available in the local market, particularly since consumption increases in that period,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

He added that lifting the ban on livestock imports from Romania also seeks to boost competitiveness in the local market and prevent prices of red meat from rising during Ramadan, expected to start in mid-June according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

Jordan imports cattle and sheep mainly from Australia, followed by Romania and Sudan, according to Haddadin, who also noted that the Kingdom exports vegetables and fruits to Romania, from where it also imports wheat and corn.

The Agriculture Ministry slapped a ban on the import of cattle and sheep from Romania in August last year after the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) announced new cases of bluetongue disease on its website.

The precautionary measure was aimed at protecting local livestock from the infectious disease, according to the ministry, which said that no bluetongue disease cases have ever been registered in the Kingdom.

Bluetongue is a non-contagious, viral disease affecting domestic and wild ruminants (primarily sheep and including cattle, goats, buffalo, antelope, deer, elk and camels) that is transmitted by insects, particularly biting midges of the Culicoides species, according to the OIE website.

There is no public health risk associated with bluetongue disease, which is listed under the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code, the organisation said on its website.

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