Import of birds into Namibia banned again

Windhoek-The Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (MAWF) has suspended the import of live poultry, raw poultry products and poultry feed from South Africa with immediate effect. All previous permits are henceforth cancelled.

This drastic step, which also affects birds in transit, has been taken for the second time in three months because of the continuous outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) in South Africa. Avian Flu is a highly pathogenic virus, which attacks birds.

Cooked poultry products however can still be imported. All imports are subject to certification by the veterinary authorities of the country of origin and import permits for all animals and animal products can be obtained from the Veterinary Import Office in Robert Mugabe Ave, Windhoek. A moratorium was placed on all poultry imports from South Africa on June 27 after an outbreak of bird flu was reported. This July, Namibia partly lifted its ban on poultry imports from South Africa due to shortages of poultry products on the market.

Media reports in South Africa noted an outbreak of bird flu in the Western Cape in August when more than 10,000 birds are said to have died from the virus.

MAWF permanent secretary Percy Misika says the import of poultry products from South Africa is affected to some extent. However, such imports are allowed from establishments that are approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery (DAFF) in the neighbouring country.

This is on condition that the poultry products were manufactured from poultry that originated from closed bio-secure poultry compartments approved by the DAFF. Another condition is that the poultry compartments should be located 90 kilometres from confirmed outbreaks and slaughtered at approved abattoirs.

The poultry compartments are subjected to monthly sero-surveillance or virological tests for avian pathogenic influenza and only poultry from negative compartment results can be imported into Namibia, Misika says.

The testing intervals shall not be less than 21 days and not more than 30 days.

The ministry is encouraging local poultry producers to ensure the implementation of bio-security measures on their farms and to avoid importing poultry products from establishments in countries affected by bird flu.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia