How It All Began
South Africa in its diversity, also poses disadvantages in the monitoring, cataloging and prevention of disease. Since 1994 the role of smallholder poultry farmers, the increase in spent-hens as well as village chickens that are kept for subsistence farming have all created further need for effective disease control
The first outbreak, and subsequent outbreaks, including the current ones of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in ostriches in South Africa has exposed the vulnerable position of the Poultry Industry with regards to disease control. There is also the constant threat of the LPAI H6N2 strain that cannot be ignored
Another problem the industry faces is the chronic situation of vacant veterinarian and veterinary technical posts. These personnel shortages place a lot of strain on government resources
However, in spite of this, progress has been made with the drafting and approval of Animal Health legislation, policies, standard operating procedures, contingency plans and even a communication protocol in conjunction with all the other role players
There is also a critical need for an extensive database containing information on all the poultry diseases in the country, including outbreaks. The information contained in the database will enable fact-based decision making by both the poultry industry and Government alike
Finally, another yet another issue that needs to be addressed is the monitoring of chemical residues in meat and poultry. At this point, the current testing is insufficient and the government has only just released a draft paper on the National Residue Monitoring Programme in poultry
In order to overcome the above stated problems, the poultry industry decided to establish the Poultry Disease Management Agency, who will be tasked with the disease monitoring, surveillance, management, control and communication on behalf of the Poultry Producers. This agency is funded by the statutory levy paid by all the producers
In addition, the Poultry Disease Management Agency aim to be a rallying point for all vested stakeholders, farmers, veterinarians and academicians, in short anyone with any interest in the protecting the national flock. We aim to create a community where ideas, information and news is shared, leading to quicker decision making and a cohesive sharing of information.
To protect the National Flock through surveillance, monitoring and management of diseases which threaten the health of the flock and food security.
To have direct involvement in poultry disease control measures, through:
- Influencing policy for controlled diseases
- Disease surveillance of commercial and non-commercial sectors of the poultry sector
- Reduction of disease levels nationally, including microbials
- Rapid response mechanisms to local and exotic disease threats
- Improving veterinary and animal health training within South Africa
- Collaboration with ostrich industry- mutual benefits from improved disease control
- Achieving and maintaining export status for the benefit of both industries
- Establishing a formal public/private partnership (PPP), where the state delegates certain regulatory functions to the PDMA
- Reducing the levels of residues in poultry meat through the residue monitoring program
South African Poultry Association (SAPA)
Developing Poultry Farmers organisation (DPFO)
Other Government Role Players
National Department of Agriculture and Role Players
Department of Health
Provincial Departments of Agric
Animal Health Products
Animal Health Forum
National Agriculture Marketing Council
- Engage national and local government on issues of disease control in the South African poultry industry.
- Make use of the database of poultry farms in South Africa to assist DAFF with monitoring of notifiable disease such as Avian Influenza, Salmonella and Newcastle Disease, while using it to develop monitoring programmes for important disease such as Infectious Bronchitis.
- Appoint or designate veterinarians with expertise in poultry diseases in each Province who would be available to assist state veterinarians in the event of disease outbreaks in commercial, smallholder and subsistence poultry in those provinces.
- Investigate the role of the PDMA in training state veterinarians and/or Animal Health Technicians so as to improve the service delivered by the state in the event of disease outbreaks on poultry farms.
- Consider developing a residue monitoring programme for poultry products nationally, or at least a database of residue monitoring data which is available.
- Deliver improved technical and veterinary support to smallholder poultry farmers so that they can achieve greater production success in collaboration with State Veterinary services or through the PDMA’s own initiatives.
- Collaborate with the ostrich industry.