Sat Sep 23 16:31:12 SAST 2017

Zokwana meets poultry industry over H5N8 bird flu

By Kgaugelo Masweneng | 2017-08-21 14:55:16.0

The Minister of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) Senzeni Zokwana is expected to meet with CEO’s in the poultry industry in a closed meeting on Monday afternoon to discuss mitigation strategies to the H5N8 bird flu outbreak.

“The Department has applied for additional funding to deal with the disease control measures‚ including compensation where applicable. About 760 270 chickens have been culled so far.

“Quarantine has been instituted and the application of disease control measures have commenced. These recently detected outbreaks bring the total number of outbreaks to 16; seven of which were in commercial chickens‚ three outbreaks in wild birds‚ two outbreaks in commercial ostrich‚ three outbreaks in backyard poultry and one outbreak in birds that were kept as a hobby‚” Bomikazi Molapo‚ DAFF spokesperson.

According to Molapo‚ the minister is confident that today’s meeting will address concerns of the industry and the South African public at large.

 The outcomes of this meeting will be communicated at a later stage.

Wessel Lemmer‚ senior agricultural economist at Absa said South Africa’s veterinary sector rates amongst the best in the world.

“Unfortunately‚ it happens at a time when the industry is gearing up for increased production and exports after periods of drought and subsequent high poultry feed prices resulted in a shortfall. As a result of the outbreak‚ exports will now be negatively impacted as neighboring countries have imposed import bans.

“The main reason why it is necessary to fully contain and wipe out infected flocks of poultry is to prevent the spread of poultry to the rest of the poultry production regions in South Africa. The H5N8-virus is virulent and can lead to big losses in commercial production units. Containing the disease and destroying the infected poultry is for this reason a priority for the industry‚” said Lemmer.