The government of Namibia has now prohibited the import and in-transit movement of live poultry and its raw products from South Africa with immediate effect.
Dr Albertina Shilongo, Namibia’s chief veterinary officer, this evening said all poultry consignments prepared for final packaging on or after 19 March 2021 will be refused entry into the country.
Although South Africa first detected the highly pathogenic avian influenza on a commercial farm on 9 April 2021, the suspension is backdated with 21 days.
This, per the disease incubation period set by the World Organisation for Animal Health standards.
Shilongo furthermore describes “final packaging” as cartons that have been permanently closed and labelled with facility identification, slaughter date and final packaging date.
Import and in-transit permits revoked
“All previously issued import and in-transit permits to import poultry and their products originating from South Africa are hereby cancelled and recalled with immediate effect. This measure will remain effective until further notice,” said Shilongo.
Namibia will, however, allow the importation of poultry and its products transiting through South Africa, but originating from other countries that are free from the H5N1 virus.
Other neighbouring countries that have also banned poultry imports from Mzansi include Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique with eSwatini set to follow any day now.
The Namibia Poultry Producers’ Association earlier said the country aims to be self-sufficient in terms of egg production within the next two years.
The monthly demand for chicken in Namibia is estimated at 3 000 tonnes of which only 1 700 tonnes is producted locally
Avian influenza is a viral respiratory disease that affects birds and is spread by direct contact between healthy and infected birds, or through indirect contact with contaminated equipment or other materials.
The virus is present in the faeces of infected birds and discharges from their noses, mouth and eyes.
Domestic birds are at risk of being infected through faecal contamination of the environment from wild birds or by indirect contact with infected poultry on other premises.