The South African government and poultry industry have set up a protocol for the import of fertilised broiler chicken hatching eggs, which will now be negotiated with trade partners.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the protocol will be used to negotiate with existing trade partners that are recognised as free from bird flu.
Such imports must be safe and shouldn’t harm the health status of the national poultry herd.
The department said it is still compiling guidelines where the principles of compensation for farmers affected by bird flu will be clearly set out.
“It is important to take note that compensation occurs according at the discretion of the Minister (Senzeni Zokwana), and is only payable for losses due to the culling of healthy birds and eggs to get rid of the disease.
“Compensation according to the law on animal disease is not a farmer support initiative and should not be confused with such initiatives,” said the department.
The possibility of vaccination is still being investigated.
A vaccination strategy as a control measure is being looked at for specific types of animals on a farm, with the necessary control measures and test schedules.
“In the short term, the material could possibly lower the consequences of the highly contagious bird flu, but could have an adverse influence on trade.”
The department said discussions are being held around a strategy to stop vaccination when the threat is gone.
WESTERN CAPE HIT HARDEST
By October 23, there were 92 confirmed outbreaks in South Africa. The most, 61, occurred in the Western Cape.
In Mpumalanga there were 11 outbreaks, 13 in Gauteng, in North West, the Free State and the Eastern Cape two each, while one outbreak occurred in KwaZulu-Natal.
The most outbreaks were on commercial farms, while the largest number of outbreaks were reported under wild birds.
The department emphasised that the most effective way to get rid of the disease and avoid its spreading is through quarantine measures, culling and the safe cleaning of infected chickens and other poultry as soon as possible after identification of the infection.