Gaborone — The recent ban on the importation of domesticated birds and their products due to the outbreak of bird flu in South Africa has had a minimum impact on the local sub sector.
In an interview on Wednesday, Feed Centre's veterinarian, Dr Kgomotso Sitayelo explained that the poultry sector's two sections of broilers and layers were not yet affected by the ban.
"If the importation continues for some months that is when they could be affected," he said.
Dr Sitayelo said Botswana was self-sufficient in broiler production, adding that the only time the country had to import would be when the hatcheries experienced low egg production from parent stock.
He said it was unlikely that the local supply of broilers would be affected by the importation ban.
He, however, said layers were imported from South Africa and that they reached distributors at eighteen weeks. He added that since supply was cut, shortage of layers would only be experienced after eighteen weeks when the current stock was depleted.
Dr Sitayelo highlighted the need to develop the local poultry industry for the country to become independent.
"If we were independent the ban was not going to have an impact on our industry," he added.
He also said it was important to improve surveillance of disease outbreaks in order to prepare well in time.
Feed Centre poultry business manager, Ms Martha Ntshole highlighted that if the ban could continue for a long time, the country would experience shortage of day old chicks and eggs.
She explained that the two local hatcheries did not produce enough eggs for chicks and that they augmented by importing from South Africa hence the ban would lead to shortage of chicks.
Mr Piet van Wyk, managing director of Amigear Ventures noted that day old chicks for the production of meat and commercial layers or parent stock for broiler breeders were imported from South Africa on a weekly basis.
He said an interruption on the supply chain had an immediate impact on production on all producers.
Source : BOPA