RWANDA – The Ministry of Agriculture has temporally banned importation of poultry products, including chicken, eggs and chicken meat, from South Africa and Zimbabwe, following an outbreak of avian influenza, commonly known as Bird-Flu in the Southern African countries.

South Africa reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu at a farm in the Free State province last week.

The ban that applies to chicken and other poultry products, is likely to affect hotels and airlines, who are among the buyers of imported poultry products.

“The importation of chickens and poultry products (eggs and meat) from Southern African countries are temporally banned,” reads part of a statement signed by Minister Gerardine Mukeshimana.

The ministry urged farmers to be vigilant and put in more efforts in prevention of diseases, including separating birds from animals.

It also called on farmers to promote hygiene among breeders, farm workers and the materials used and stock required medicine, among other measures.

The Government has also set up telephone numbers, 0738503589, and 0788680333 for the public to call should they encounter suspected cases of bird flu, such as seeing five or more dead birds or have any questions related to the ban.

Recent bans

It is not the first time poultry products are temporarily banned this year in January, Government banned similar products from neighbouring Uganda.

According to health experts, exposure to bird flu can lead to fatal complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and multiple organ failure.

The latest ban should be a motivation to a country that is determined to reduce imports by boosting local industries that include hatcheries, experts say.

June 28, 2017: New Times