With bird flu near, Africa turns to Europe for poultry imports

August 12, 2004, as reported by just-food.com: Mozambican poultry farmers are turning to their European counterparts for help. Now that produce imports from South Africa have been banned due to influenza fears farmers and importers of chicks and eggs for breading need a new source for these goods and Europe looks like the best option.

The ban on South Africa was imposed this week following an outbreak of bird flu in the Eastern Cape. South Africa's ostrich business has been hit by the H5N2 strain, which is different from the H5N1 strain that killed 24 people and millions of chickens when it swept through Asia earlier this year. It is not said to be dangerous for humans.

According to a report in Mozambican daily Noticias, South Africa and Swaziland have been the main suppliers of chicken products and feed to southern Mozambique, and the resort to the European market, until the situation is back to normal, will not fully prevent losses to Mozambican businesses.

Meanwhile, the South African authorities are still trying to identify the origin of the disease, and have put under quarantine 15 ostrich farms in the area of Middleton, in the Cape, where the disease was first detected. The disease has already killed about 6,000 ostriches since it was detected, two weeks ago.