Southern Africa: SA Birds Flu Outbreak Sends Shock Waves in SADC

Johannesburg — THE Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) is wary of the ban on exports from South Africa to some countries in the region plunging the local poultry industry into further turmoil.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional members- Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia - have imposed the ban after the recent Avian Influenza (AI) outbreak.

AMIE is hopeful the outbreak through various locations in South Africa will be contained.

A widespread epidemic can - which supplies the main protein source to South Africa's middle to low income consumers - into further economic turmoil.

"Right now AMIE is focused on ensuring that retail store shelves remain stocked, prices remain steady and consumers continue to have access to reasonably-priced healthy poultry products," a spokesperson stated.

AMIE is against the suspension of trade within the country.

Furthermore, it urged the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development to replicate with European Union (EU) the discussions the poultry sector had with Botswana.

The bloc is a potentially huge market for South African poultry exports.

"If we are successful in having cordial and expeditious relationships with SADC countries, we need to ask why the relationship with other larger trading partners cannot be of similar character," AMIE stated.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development a fortnight ago reported an outbreak of a H5 avian influenza on a commercial chicken farm in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng province.

Further outbreaks have been reported in the North West province.

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