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Agro-processing News South Africa

Namibia lifts ban on poultry imports from South Africa

The Namibian chicken industry is rejoicing following the government’s decision to lift a one-year prohibition on importing chickens from neighbouring South Africa. This decision, which has been well received by the Poultry Producers’ Association of Namibia (PPA), provides much-needed relief and lays the groundwork for a more stable poultry market.
Source: ©123branex via
Source: ©123branex via 123RF

Louis Kleynhans, the chairperson of PPA, conveyed his organisation’s backing for the decision, highlighting the significance of biosecurity. He said they will only approve the imported chicken if it comes from South African farms certified as free of avian influenza and if it enters Namibia through proper legal channels.

This policy change comes after Namibia’s Directorate of Veterinary Services issued an official notice in mid-May. Albertina Shilongo, the chief veterinary officer, explained that poultry meat imports will resume. She emphasised that only chicken free from disease and derived from live birds raised on bio-secure South African farms will be permitted.

Avian influenza outbreak

The prohibition on imports, which was put into place in September 2023, resulted from an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in South Africa. The poultry industry in Namibia was greatly affected by this outbreak. Kleynhans views lifting the ban as an important measure to support local production and guarantee ongoing consumer availability of chicken. He stresses that import quotas will be upheld to avoid an influx of imported chicken that could harm local producers.

The outbreak of HPAI had a devastating impact on Namibian poultry producers. It has been reported that Quantum Foods, a significant player in the industry, culled approximately two million chickens to control the disease. Astral Foods, another leading producer, calculated that the total cost of the outbreak was around R220 million. These statistics emphasise the considerable financial burden of the outbreak on the Namibian poultry sector.

Namibia heavily depends on importing poultry from South Africa, consuming about 2 500 tonnes of chicken every month. The removal of the ban is anticipated to stabilise the market by boosting the total supply of chicken. This could consequently result in more competitive pricing for consumers. Nevertheless, the implementation of import quotas will guarantee fairness and safeguard the concerns of local manufacturers who have made significant investments in the sector.

Implementation of the ban lift

The lifting of the ban presents the opportunity for Namibian and South African poultry producers to work together. Exchanging effective biosecurity protocols and disease prevention measures could be advantageous for both sectors. Namibia could benefit from South Africa’s expertise in managing the HPAI outbreak to enhance its biosecurity measures and prevent potential future outbreaks.

Although the removal of the ban is a positive development for both consumers and producers, there are still some obstacles that need to be addressed. Strict adherence to the biosecurity regulations set out by the Directorate of Veterinary Services is crucial to prevent the reintroduction of HPAI in Namibia. It will be essential to maintain constant monitoring and take quick action if there are any suspected outbreaks.

Additionally, the successful implementation of the ban lift depends on efficiently controlling the import quotas. It is important to establish quotas that ensure a consistent influx of imported chicken while also safeguarding domestic production. Effective communication and cooperation among the government, the PPA, and local producers will be key to attaining this equilibrium.

The removal of the import restriction on South African chicken represents a major advancement for the poultry sector in Namibia. It has the potential to create a more secure market, promote greater competition, and potentially lead to lower prices for consumers. Nevertheless, it will be crucial to maintain biosecurity, effectively manage import quotas, and promote collaboration between stakeholders to guarantee the lasting success of this policy change.

Source: AgriOrbit

AgriOrbit is a product of Centurion-based agricultural magazine publisher Plaas Media. Plaas Media is an independent agricultural media house. It is the only South African agricultural media house to offer a true 360-degree media offering to role-players in agriculture. Its entire portfolio is based on sound content of a scientific and semi-scientific nature.

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