This week, Chief Veterinary Officer Albertina Shilongo, of the Ministry of Agriculture, announced the immediate suspension of the importation and in-transit movement of live poultry, birds, and poultry products from South Africa due to a rise in Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) cases.
According to a statement from the Ministry, the decision to reinforce control measures was prompted by HPAI infiltrating commercial, export-approved poultry compartments in South Africa. The objective is to prevent the introduction of HPAI into Namibia through poultry and their products. The ban encompasses live poultry, fresh frozen poultry meat, table eggs, day-old chicks, and hatching eggs.
“All previously issued import and in-transit permits are hereby cancelled and recalled with immediate effect,” Shilongo declared, adding that cooked poultry meat products for commercial purposes may still be imported into Namibia or in transit under a veterinary import permit.
Current reports from the South Africa Veterinary Competent Authority indicate 49 new HPAI events occurring between 18 April and 05 September 2023. Of these, ten have been confirmed to be caused by HPAI H5, while the remaining 39 were attributed to HPAI H7.
Shilongo revealed that new cases have been reported in various types of commercial chickens across several provinces including Kwazulu-Natal, Western Cape, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West.
An identical import ban was imposed in November last year due to an outbreak of avian influenza, affecting Namibian businesses dealing in poultry products. However, the ban was lifted in April this year after Ireland was declared free of the disease amongst farmed birds.
Shilongo has urged the public and importers to comply with this suspension until further notice.