The Avian influenza outbreak in some parts of South Africa like Mpumalanga and the Free State has resulted in Zimbabwe banning chicken imports from the country.
Zimbabwe‚ a net importer of South African chickens that are mostly sold in South African-owned Pick n Pay supermarkets and other locally owned small retailers because of their low prices‚ said the ban on frozen chicken‚ tabled eggs and hatching eggs was “indefinite” but would be guided by South Africa’s Agriculture‚ Forests‚ Fisheries and Veterinary department.
“The ban has no timeline but we will wait for indications from them (South Africa)‚” said Zimbabwe’s veterinary services director Dr Josphat Nyika.
The ban could also affect the supply and demand balance in Zimbabwe’s poultry industry.
According to data from the Zimbabwe Poultry Farmers Association (ZFPA)‚ cheap imports from South Africa and Brazil dominate the sector. In 2016‚ Zimbabwe imported chicken products worth R22.4 million.
Earlier this month‚ South Africa along with Botswana banned chicken imports from Zimbabwe when a bird flu outbreak was detected in one of Zimbabwe’s leading poultry companies.
However‚ ZFPA said the ban did not affect them because there were no exports to talk of.
South Africa’s Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) said on Monday evening that a new case of the highly contagious bird flu — the country’s second — had been confirmed at a layer farm in Val in Standerton in Standerton.
It said the virus was the same strain as the initial case reported on a poultry breeder farm near Villiers in the Free State last Thursday but that the two farms were not linked‚ meaning that the latest case was a separate introduction.
“The farm has been placed under quarantine and over 25‚000 of the infected birds will be culled. Eggs are not allowed to move out of the farm‚” the department said.
It added that the ban on the sale of live poultry was still in place‚ to enable the department to assess the extent of the outbreak.
“We will observe this ban for a period of 14 days and will reassess the situation. It takes approximately four days for the infected bird to show clinical signs of the disease. We have put this measure in place to prevent further unintended spread of the influenza.
“We are pleading with commercial and backyard farmers to report any cases of large numbers of birds dying to the nearest state vets so the department can send veterinary officials for follow up investigations and collection of samples for confirmation‚” the department said.