News update:Mar 9, 2016

UK poultry returns to South Africa

Poultry products from the United Kingdom will again be permitted access to South Africa's poultry market. South African authorities banned UK poultry following the outbreak of avian influenza last year, causing a setback in steadily growing market.

In November 2014 a case of highly pathogenic avian influenza at a duck farm near Driffield, East Yorkshire was confirmed. However, despite Britain's export certificates allowing regionalisation, (no trading with a region hit by a disease outbreak) South Africa decided not to accept this and blocked all imports.

UK regain access to South African poultry market ahead of time

It was thought that imports would not resume until at least 14 May when the UK would be declared officially free of high-path avian influenza.

Máire Burnett, of the British Poultry Council, said regaining access was an example of industry and government working together, but getting countries to accept regionalisation would continue to be worked on.

Access still denied for poultry slaughtered before 22 February

She also highlighted that poultry slaughtered before 22 February would not be accepted, meaning some frozen produce may still not find a home.

South Africa: UK's main market for dark poultry meat

Exports to South Africa had been steadily growing, added Ms Burnett, and it would have been interesting to see where volumes would have been without the setback.

Imports form an important way to access more value from the carcase, as in Britain consumers tend to opt for breastmeat, lowering the value of darker cuts.

Poultry meat exports important for NI's poultry industry

Agricultural minister for Northern Ireland, Michelle O' Neill, said the move was welcome.

"Our local poultry industry is a major employer and our poultry meat exports are a key tenet in achieving our growth targets.

"I have been working hard on behalf of industry to resolve this issue and I am pleased that my efforts have yielded a positive result for the north's poultry producers."

To view the interactive map of the H5N8 outbreaks in Europe click here

Jake Davies, FarmersWeekly

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