State steps in

The Poultry Bulletin - - LOCAL NEWS -

Fol­low­ing the lat­est H5N8 bird flu out­breaks in five of South Africa’s nine prov­inces, Sen­zeni Zok­wana, Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries said that while the dis­ease had sent “shock­waves” through the poul­try in­dus­try, measures have been put in place to con­tain it.

Zok­wana said that DAFF, the state ve­teri­nary ser­vices, and lo­cal poul­try pro­duc­ers were work­ing non-stop to curb the virus.

“The economic im­por­tance of poul­try is high­lighted by the fact that in the 2016 pro­duc­tion cy­cle, broiler and egg pro­duc­tion was still the largest seg­ment of SA agri­cul­ture in Rand value at 18%,” he said. “So far, 24 out­breaks have been de­tected – 10 in commercial chick­ens, three in os­triches, three in back­yard chick­ens and eight in wild birds and birds kept as a hobby.”

He added that both the OIE and the WHO have con­firmed that the H5N8 virus does not pose a threat to hu­man health fol­low­ing re­ported out­breaks in 47 coun­tries.

“The de­part­ment of Health has tested work­ers on af­fected farms and there has not been a sin­gle case of hu­man in­fec­tions,” he said.

Zok­wana says a task team con­sist­ing of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the in­dus­try and govern­ment to work on sci­en­tif­i­cally-based con­sid­er­a­tions re­gard­ing vaccination.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions are also on­go­ing to find a way to pro­vide an in­cen­tive for farm­ers who have ex­pe­ri­enced mas­sive losses due to the de­struc­tion of healthy birds and eggs to erad­i­cate the dis­ease.”

The Min­is­ter says govern­ment is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the poul­try sec­tor, and more in­for­ma­tion will be pro­vided at the end of Septem­ber.¡

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