Maputo — The Mozambican government announced on Thursday that it has banned the import of live birds (domestic and wild), as well as bird meat, feathers and eggs from South Africa due to an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in South Africa.

The ban covers all poultry products used in animal feed, or for agricultural or industrial purposes.

A communique from the Ministry of Agriculture added that the ban does not cover meat treated with heat at a sufficient intensity to inactivate the avian flu virus.

The South African authorities announced the outbreak last Tuesday in Gauteng province. It caused the immediate deaths of about 300 birds on a commercial poultry farm at Ekurhuleni, east of Johannesburg.

All the other birds on the farm were destroyed, and the property has been placed under quarantine while the veterinary authorities investigate the extent of the outbreak.

This same poultry farm was affected by an outbreak of a different strain of avian flu in 2017, which led farmers to slaughter millions of birds. In that year too neighbouring countries, including Mozambique, banned the import of birds and their by-products from South Africa.

Mozambique is not yet self-sufficient in chickens or eggs. According to data from 2017, national poultry producers can supply the Mozambican market with 70,000 tonnes of chicken a year. The country’s consumption is estimated at 80,000 tonnes a year.

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