Mozambique turns back SA eggs by the truckload, after bird flu outbreak

Business Insider SA
(Image: Getty)
  • Mozambique has turned back eggs from South Africa by the truckload.
  • This follows the outbreak of a contagious strain of avian flu on a Johannesburg farm.
  • Mozambique accounts for 70% of South Africa’s egg exports.
  • Botswana may soon face a shortage of broilers.
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Mozambique has turned back eggs coming from South Africa by the truckload after an avian flu strain detected at a Johannesburg farm was found to be highly contagious.

Mozambique is one of three countries that have banned poultry and poultry products from South Africa since the outbreak was reported.

Botswana was the first country to ban poultry products from South Africa - Namibia and Mozambique are the latest to do so.

While it's difficult to say how many eggs were turned back at the Mozambican border at the weekend, Colin Steenhuisen, interim general manager for the South African Poultry Association’s egg board said “it would have been many truckloads that have been turned away”.

“We send eggs to Mozambique almost on a daily basis, so there’s going to be a shortage of eggs in Mozambique for sure, very soon,” said Steenhuisen.

About 70% of South Africa’s egg exports go to Mozambique - last year, the country imported 10,608 tonnes of eggs and 12,845 tonnes of broilers from South Africa, Steenhuisen added.

Last week, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said 300 birds on a commercial farm in Ekurhuleni were culled after testing positive for the H5 strain of the avian flu. The farm was also affected by the highly infectious H5N8 bird flu outbreak in 2017.

The department of animal health told Business Insider South Africa that the strain was highly pathogenic and that it is trade-sensitive.

Over the last few days, 240,000 more hens from the same farm were culled. Approximately 1.3 million eggs have accumulated on the farm, Steenhuisen said.

Unlike Mozambique and Botswana, Namibia has banned South African poultry products only from one trade compartment which involves the area around the farm where the outbreak started. Its suspension is planned for 21 days.

South Africa, which exported 53,641 tonnes of poultry products worth R1.247 billion in 2019, exports its poultry to the SADC region and other neighbouring countries, with broilers accounting for 93.6 % of the industry’s total poultry exports.

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