South Africa bans poultry imports from Poland due to Avian Influenza outbreak

SOUTH AFRICASouth Africa has instituted a ban on poultry imports from Poland due to recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which Poland notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on January 2.

The outbreaks occurred at Stary Uscimow in the district of Lubartowski in Lubeskie province and the Ostrów district, in the Wielkopolskie province.

All birds at each of the affected premises have now been culled with Protection and Surveillance Zones established by the Polish National Veterinary Institute.

The poultry products banned include, live poultry, pigeons and other birds, eggs (excluding SPF eggs), fresh and frozen poultry meat.

Only heat-treated poultry products from which the importer has obtained a valid veterinary import permit are exempted from the ban.

The ban on Poland adds to the following list of EU countries; Belgium, France, UK, Germany, Netherlands and Hungary that were banned due to HPAI restrictions.

This import ban was instituted between 2017-2018 and these countries have since been unable to convince South Africa to open the market for their poultry imports.

Poland is one of the top ten European Union countries that export bone-in chicken to South Africa, with their exports increasing by 316% from January-November 2018 to January -November 2019.

Before 2014-2015, Poland did not export any poultry products to South Africa.

Seven EU countries are in the top ten world countries that supply South Africa with bone-in chicken, and they contribute 35% to the top 10 when combined i.e. Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, United Kingdom and Hungary.

The other players are Brazil leading with a percentage share of 37%, US with a percentage share of 21% and Argentina with 6% share.

Despite South Africa largely depending on poultry imports, the government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) engaged industrial players to explore a definitive ‘Poultry Master Plan’ for the local market to open up new export markets for South African poultry.

The plan brought on board importers, exporters, local producers and regulators including the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Astral Food and RCL Foods among others to push for reforms in the poultry sector with an aim of maintaining balance between local poultry producers and importers and protect the local industry.

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