WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand, the world's largest exporter of dairy, will spend more than NZ $ 880 million ($ 610 million) to eradicate Mycoplasma abovementioned disease, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday.
About 126,000 cows are expected to be culled, mainly in the next two years as government and industry work to depopulate all infected farms, the government said in a statement.
The disease, which is prevalent in many countries, was first discovered last July in New Zealand on a farm on the South Island and around 37 properties have now been tested positive for the disease.
"Today's decision to eradicate is made by the government's desire to protect the national herd from the disease and to protect the bottom line of our economy ̵
Mycoplasma bovis can cause diseases such as udder infection, pneumonia, and arthritis in affected cattle, but poses no risk to food safety or risk to humans.
The initial outbreak has led to concerns that the disease may have access to the market New Zealand dairy products and caused a short fall in the New Zealand dollar.
The government would contribute about $ 591 million to the eradication program, while the remainder would be borne by industry bodies and farmers, Ardern said. Most of the work would take place over the next two years.
The New Zealand dairy sector contributes around $ 7.8 billion to the country's gross domestic product annually, accounting for about one-fifth of its exports.
($ 1 = 1.3997 New Zealand Dollars)
Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Arrangement by Richard Pullin