Question NW3209 to the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

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26 October 2023 - NW3209

Profile picture: Weber, Ms AMM

Weber, Ms AMM to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

(1)What steps has her department taken to contain the spread of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N8 strain panzootic disease which is currently destroying the poultry industry in the Republic, leading to an increase in the price and a looming shortage of eggs and bringing poultry farmers to their knees; (2) whether there has been any indication of possible trade bans on the export of poultry products due to the panzootic disease; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what number of (a) industries and (b) countries will and/or have been affected; (3) whether, in light of the fact that vaccination of poultry is currently not allowed in the Republic, she will remove the prohibition on the poultry vaccines to allow poultry farmers to buy the highly effective vaccine to save millions of Rand and poultry farms; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (4) whether she intends to (a) declare the panzootic a disaster and (b) assist all farmers to get back on their feet through a form of compensation; if not, what is the position in each case; if so, what are the relevant details in each case? NW4282E


1. All farms with infections are placed under quarantine. No birds, products and waste are allowed to move into or out of the farm. Infected and in-contact birds must be destroyed to prevent further spread of the infection. Farmers that requested to be exempted from culling/destroying birds have been given biosecurity measures which they must comply with in order not to place other farms in danger. Industry is supplied with biosecurity guidelines and advised to rather register compartments that are strictly monitored for compliance to assist industry not be infected by adverse diseases. Industry applications to import fertile eggs are being expedited.

2. (a),(b) To date, Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho have suspended trade of live birds including day old chicks, eggs, and meat. Saudi Arabia has suspended trade of meat from affected provinces.

3. The department is working on a protocol to permit vaccination under stringent conditions, bearing in mind that vaccination does not prevent birds from being infected but limit the clinical signs, which will make it difficult for clinical and passive surveillance; so in order to detect infection as quickly as possible, the surveillance has to be intense. The details will be shared as soon as the protocol has been finalised.

4. In terms of the Animal Diseases Act No. 35 of 1984 any owner of animals that were destroyed for disease control purposes can submit a claim for compensation to the Director Animal Health, Dr Mpho Maja, contact number (012) 319-7615, Email [email protected].


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