Botswana: Avian Flu Outbreak Threatens Chicken Industry

New avian flu discovered in North West, South Africa

Farmers encouraged to produce more to self-sustain

The Republic of South Africa South Africa’s poultry industry is still on thin ice following another outbreak of Avian flu which was reported on a farm in the North West. This discovery is set to cause more of SA’s neighbouring countries to ban the importation of their locally produced broilers and eggs.

Currently, three countries, that is Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique have suspended imports as a means of controlling the possibility of the Avian flu penetrating their country supply. Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly this past week, Acting General Manager of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) Egg Organization, Colin Steenhuisen said he had been notified of trucks delivering eggs being turned away from the Mozambican border on Friday, 16 April. He further mentioned that they had not received any official communication from Mozambican authorities regarding the matter at the time of publishing.

The Department of Verterinary services, under the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food security, has listed a number of clinical signs of affected birds, among them sudden death without any signs; Lack of coordination; Purple discoloration of the wattles, combs, and legs; Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs; Lack of energy and appetite; Diarrhea; Swelling of the head, eyelids, comb, wattles and hocks; Nasal discharge; Decreased egg production; Coughing, sneezing.

Media liaison officer at the Department of Verterinary Services, Henry Toto, said efforts towards responding effectively to the situation include a press release issued on 14 April 2021 urging farmers and the general public to be vigilant and report any suspicious clinical signs in both domestic and wild birds to the nearest veterinary office to enable rapid response in the event that the disease is present in Botswana.

“Furthermore, the department has banned the importation of domestic and wild birds and their products form the Republic of South Africa as well as cancellation of veterinary import permit issued in respect of the listed items,” he added.

Toto emphasized that importation has been suspended to allow the Republic of South Africa to establish the extent of the spread of the disease. However, Importation of poultry and poultry products from other countries is allowed subject to normal import protocols. The ban on importation has since been reversed, as of 22 April and poultry suppliers have resumed business as usual.