During the last month, South Africa has been battling to contain the avian flu outbreak first reported on April 15 according to the World Organisation for Animal Health. Since then, at least 1 million birds have been culled and some countries have imposed bans in the imports of poultry products. Although the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) says no shortages are expected, limitations on trading may affect the poultry business.
Now, Namibia has joined to countries like Mozambique and Hong Kong that have imposed bans on the import of poultry products from South Africa. On Monday, the ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform announced that within the measures to contain the spread of the virus in Namibia, the import of all live and raw poultry products proceeding from South Africa were suspended.
“All previously issued import and in transit permits to import poultry and their products originating from South Africa are hereby canceled and recalled with immediate effect. This measure will remain effective until further notice,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Namibia continues to allow the importation of poultry and their products that are transiting through South Africa origination from other countries that are HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] free,” it said.
During 2017, South Africa was hit hard by a HPAI outbreak that affected mainly the egg industry. According to the SAPA, around 4.7 million birds were culled, and a nationwide shortage reached up to 50%. However, the strain reported in that time was different than the current H5N1. Thus, growers are preparing for things to get worse.
“We expect the disease to spread. We get one to three cases a week, and if we look ahead, we are concerned about the spread. Currently, we are monitoring about 937 farms on a daily basis to get early warning,” told Izaak Breitenbach to the local media Business Insider South Africa.
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