April 21, 2021

Challenges intensify for South African poultry industry as bird flu found at two more farms


South Africa's poultry industry faces a bumpier road ahead as a pathogenic bird-flu strain was detected on two more farms this week.


The outbreak of the H5 strain of the virus was first identified at a commercial layer chicken farm on the East Rand last week and led to three neighbouring countries suspending imports.  


Last week, Botswana announced that it had banned imports of domesticated and wild birds from South Africa with immediate effect. Namibia also announced its ban, followed by Mozambique.


Unlike the other two countries, Namibia only suspended imports from Johannesburg's East Rand area. 


The Botswana government said in a statement that "all veterinary import permits issued in respect of the items listed have been canceled with immediate effect."


In 2020, according to the South African Poultry Association, South Africa exported 10,608 tonnes of eggs to Mozambique along with 12,835 tons of broiler chickens. Namibia imported 23 tonnes of eggs and 8,015 tonnes of broiler meat, while Botswana imported 394 fertile hatchery eggs and 2,304 broilers.


In 2017, the outbreak of the highly infectious H5N8 strain led to many South African farmers losing thousands of their chickens.


- Mail & Guardian