January 10, 2018 / 5:54 PM / 3 years ago

Namibia resumes poultry imports from Belgium

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia has lifted a ban on poultry from Belgium after outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu in the Western European country caused trade to be suspended in June, the government said on Wednesday.

Namibians, who consume an estimated 2,500 tonnes of chicken each month, have only one commercial supplier able to supply between 1,800 and 1,900 tonnes and the country relies on imports to meet demand.

Namibia imports the bulk of its poultry from South Africa, but also gets some of its supply from Belgium, Argentina, Brazil and the Netherlands.

The lifting of the ban comes after a report from Belgium highlighting the effectiveness of the control measures put in place following the June outbreak, Namibia’s chief veterinary officer in the Directorate of Veterinary Services Adrianatus Maseke said.

“Surveillance conducted in that country has not detected any evidence of infection in poultry for at least three months as required by the World Organization for Animal Health to declare freedom,” said Maseke.

The southern African country will now resume imports and in transit movement from Belgium for products produced after September 29, 2017, Maseke said.

Namibia, which had also suspended trade with South Africa in June, was forced to amend its suspension to allow some imports from its neighbor a month later after poultry shortages.

Meat Board Manager Operations Willem Schutz told Reuters that South African imports were still banned.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaungwa; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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