Namibian government stated on Wednesday (Sept. 28) that it has halted imports of chickens and eggs from South Africa, which is undergoing the worst bird flu outbreak in its history.
The decision, which will take effect immediately, was made in response to a “alarming” rise in “highly pathogenic avian influenza” cases, according to the agriculture ministry of the country in southern Africa.
According to the same source, “the import and transit of live chickens, poultry meat, eggs, and chicks from South Africa will be suspended “until further notice.
South Africa, one of the top producers of chicken, announced the first bird flu cases on poultry farms in April.
It was Namibia’s “preferred supplier” of chickens because of its proximity.
However, it also imports chicken from Europe and South America, according to Jona Musheko, a spokesman for the Namibian Ministry of Agriculture.
South African poultry breeders warned last week that this epidemic could result in a shortage of chicken in the months to come.
One of the industry heavyweights, Quantum Foods, claimed losses on its farms from the virus of about $5.3 million (4.9 million euros), or two million chickens.
The market was already experiencing an egg shortage, according to Astral, the largest producer in the nation.
The poultry business continues to be the largest single contributor to the country’s agricultural sector, according to a 2020 study from the South African Poultry Association. In 2020, the production of poultry accounted for about 18% of all agricultural gross value and 41% of all animal product gross value.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that bird flu is spreading over the globe and infecting an increasing number of species, including foxes and sea lions, which has led to concerns that the virus is evolving to more readily infect humans.
Although outbreaks of contagion often occur during specific seasons, this one is now thought to be the biggest to have been recorded.