The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service agency recently confirmed that the US had decided to prevent the entry of poultry meat, live birds and all poultry by-products from Botswana or transiting through that country, in order to prevent the introduction of the disease to US poultry farms.
In a statement announcing the ban, the agency said it had added Botswana to the list of countries not allowed to export poultry produce and live birds to the US, following confirmation of an outbreak of the disease.
“The US Department of Agriculture is advising the public that we have added Botswana to the list of regions affected with HPAI.”
The agency said it had received notice of the HPAI outbreak from Botswanan veterinary officials and had thus been forced to ban poultry imports from Botswana. This was due to the seriousness of the disease, which required a rapid response as it was highly contagious and often fatal to chickens.
A researcher at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr John Moreki, said that while Botswana had become self-sufficient in poultry production, the industry was faced with many problems.
He added that disease outbreaks were among the major challenges affecting the industry.
“The outbreak of avian influenza in some parts of Botswana has a negative impact on the movement of poultry and poultry products,” Moreki said.
In response to the US ban, the acting deputy secretary in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry, Gideon Mmolawa, indicated that Botswana would be addressing the matter.
Botswana exports poultry meat to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. This is a trade preference programme providing duty-free access to the US market for qualifying exports from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.