Three neighbouring countries ban South Africa poultry due to bird flu
RUSTENBURG - Three regional countries have banned imports of South African poultry products following an outbreak of bird flu at a commercial chicken farm east of Johannesburg.
South Africa’s department of agriculture last week said about 300 birds had died of Avian influenza on the farm.
Following the outbreak, Botswana said it was banning with immediate effect all imports of domesticated and wild birds as well as their meat, eggs and feathers from South Africa.
In a statement, that country’s director of veterinary services Letlhogile Oarabile said all import permits issued in respect of poultry had been suspended.
Similarly, Namibia has also banned the import and movement of live poultry, birds and poultry products from South Africa.
Its ministry of agriculture said in a statement the ban was effective from March 19, but urged local poultry farmers not to panic as the situation in South Africa had been handled as per international standards.
“Consignments containing poultry products packed in their final packaging on or after the date of the start of suspension would be rejected and sent back to the country of origin or destroyed at the importer’s cost,” the ministry said.
According to 24 hour international television news channel Arise News, Mozambique has also prohibited poultry from South Africa, although this does not include processed chicken, in which meat is preserved through heat treatment.
The channel further reported that there were fears the ban would lead to higher prices for poultry products in Mozambique, which heavily relies on South African imports.
In last week’s statement, the spokesman for South Africa’s department of agriculture Reggie Ngcobo said samples taken from the farm which suffered the bird flu outbreak had come back positive for the H5 strain of Avian flu. The birds in the affected house were immediately destroyed, he added.
Ngcobo said the same farm had also been affected by a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in 2017.
After the latest outbreak, Gauteng Veterinary Authorities had placed the farm under quarantine and were investigating the outbreak.
“They are performing back and forward tracing, to determine the extent of the outbreak and assist with safe disposal of dead chickens and disinfection of the farm," Ngcobo said.
African News Agency (ANA)