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Bird-flu scare gives poultry producers little cause to crow

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  • Bird-flu scare gives poultry producers little cause to crow

    Bird-flu scare gives poultry producers little cause to crow
    Nicola Mawson

    SA?s ban on poultry products imported from Germany, which reported an outbreak of bird flu earlier this week, was not expected to hugely benefit local producers, said the Southern African Poultry Association yesterday.

    CEO Kevin Lovell said only about 22% of SA?s total chicken consumption was imported, with about 93% of this being sourced from Brazil, Canada and Argentina. He said the country imported very little from Germany and the amount of poultry products brought into SA from Germany was negligible.

    Agriculture department spokeswoman Priscilla Tsotso Sehoole yesterday said only poultry products from Germany had been banned; products from the rest of Europe were safe. She said poultry now on SA?s shelves was safe for consumption.

    However, Reuters yesterday reported that the same strain of bird flu had been found at two commercial farms in the eastern Czech Republic.

    Germany had informed SA of the avian flu outbreak after reports were received of an outbreak of the H5N1 strain in Thuringen, Germany.

    The German government placed the farm and surrounding area under quarantine and destroyed 1000 domestic birds within a 3km radius of the outbreak to contain the disease.

    Sehoole said all live poultry, birds, meat and other products derived from poultry and birds from Germany would not be allowed into SA until further notice. One outbreak of avian flu was reported in SA last year, but that was a milder strain of the flu.

    The latest outbreak is believed to be the second such occurrence this year.

    Lovell said SA had good import control systems and it was not likely that infected chickens would make it into SA .

    The bans, he said, were cautionary and would not affect trade agreements.

    Quinton Ivan, an investment analyst with Coronation Fund Managers, said local poultry producers could see some benefit if companies changed buying patterns and bought locally.

    However, he said, companies might also purchase imported chickens from another country.

    He said SA was sometimes viewed as a dumping ground because imported chicken pieces were very cheap.

    SA has had an extensive surveillance programme in place since 2005 and all commercial and non-commercial chickens and commercial ostriches were regularly tested. With Sapa