TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
THE Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) has lined up several sensitisation meetings for the public and farmers following the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) in some countries to safeguard the local sector from the disease.
Last week, Government banned the importation of poultry and poultry products from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and all countries that have recorded the outbreak of H5N8.
PAZ president Rhodnie Sisala said the sector being the largest producer of meat with 62 percent from poultry products, it is important to protect it from the disease, which has broken out in other countries.
In an interview on Monday, Mr Sisala said if imports of poultry and poultry products are allowed from countries with the disease, it might increase the chances of Zambia getting it.
“Government discussions to ban the importation of poultry and poultry products is a welcome move to safeguard the sector so that Zambia is not affected. In the next few days, we are going to increase media interaction to sensitise the public and farmers on H5N8. This is aimed at preventing the disease from coming into the country,” he said.
He said mostly the disease affects birds and human beings in rare cases.
He, however, said the disease is not yet in the country and no farmer has reported any cases.
Mr Sisala said all the measures being taken by Government and the association are to protect the country’s poultry sector.
Government has since reconstituted a strong multi-sectorial nation-wide response committee and anyone found importing poultry and poultry products will be prosecuted.