July 6, 2021
Zimbabwean poultry organisation concerned about entry of illegal products
THE Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) has expressed concern over the influx of smuggled poultry products entering Zimbabwe as the region is facing the threat of avian influenza.
The highly contagious viral disease has affected several species of food-producing birds like chickens, turkeys, quails and guinea fowl.
In March, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned African countries of a highly pathogenic avian influenza following a spike in reports of bird flu in wild birds across Europe.
FAO has suggested that the disease has spread in Western Europe in countries like the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom.
In the latest update compiled by the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC), ZPA said the illegal import of poultry meat and eggs from South Africa and Zambia would trigger local bird flu infections.
"Concerns were noted regarding poultry meat and eggs, which are being illegally imported mainly from Zambia and South Africa, especially as South Africa is a known avian influenza zone," it said.
ZPA chairman Solomon Zawe stressed the need to strengthen border controls to curb smuggling.
"We need to control the borders by having the police and army patrolling. It's critical to create public awareness around the dangers of avian influenza," he said. "It also kills the industry because all the breeding chicks that we have here will end up being killed… the stockfeed industry will also go down as there would be no takers for feed. As farmers, we are concerned."
Zimbabwe's Department of Veterinary Services has advised local poultry farmers to tighten bio-security and maintain proper disinfection to curb any potential spread of avian influenza into the country.
It is feared that the highest possible risk of avian influenza's introduction into Zimbabwe will be from migratory birds and illegal trade of live poultry products.
- Chronicle Zimbabwe