NAMIBIA – Namibia’s chicken industry is celebrating a significant government decision to lift a one-year ban on importing chickens from neighboring South Africa.

The move, which has garnered positive feedback from the Poultry Producers’ Association of Namibia (PPA), offers much-needed relief and sets the stage for a more stable poultry market.

Louis Kleynhans, Chairperson of the PPA, expressed support for the decision, stressing the importance of biosecurity measures.

He emphasized that imported chicken from South Africa must originate from farms certified free of avian influenza and enter Namibia through legal channels.

The ban on imports, enforced since September 2023 due to a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in South Africa, severely impacted Namibia’s poultry industry.

Kleynhans sees the ban lift as vital for supporting local production and ensuring continued availability of chicken for consumers.

The avian influenza outbreak took a toll on Namibian poultry farmers – Quantum Foods, a major industry player, culled around two million chickens to contain the disease, while Astral Foods estimated the outbreak’s cost at approximately R220 million (US$11.7M).

Namibia relies heavily on chicken imports from South Africa, consuming about 2,500 tons monthly.

The ban lift is expected to stabilize the market by increasing chicken supply, potentially leading to more competitive pricing.

However, import quotas will ensure fairness and protect local manufacturers’ interests.

The ban removal also presents an opportunity for Namibian and South African poultry producers to collaborate – Namibia could leverage South Africa’s expertise in managing the outbreak to enhance its biosecurity measures and prevent future outbreaks.

According to the government, strict adherence to biosecurity regulations is crucial to prevent the reintroduction of avian influenza.

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