Kenya plans to institute tough measures on imports of poultry products from Uganda even as it lifted restrictions imposed in January following an outbreak of bird flu.
The country has started allowing in poultry products from three Ugandan firms, but has maintained that the government will remain vigilant through stringent inspection measures.
Last week, Uganda said it had managed to contain the disease that killed 50,000 domestic birds and 10,000 wild birds in the country.
Last Friday, Agriculture Minister Christopher Kibanzanga said the country was free from the disease.
“The Ministry has been carrying out active surveillance in all affected districts, and laboratory samples collected from domestic poultry and wild animals have been confirmed negative since March to date,” he said.
Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo also imposed bans that are still in force.
Kenya’s Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said that although the ban has been lifted on the Ugandan firms, they must comply with set conditions that include presenting a certificate of origin at the border.
The Ugandan firms are Hudani Manji Holdings, SR Afrochick and Kukuchic. The lifting of the ban came after they complied with biosafety measures agreed on by the two countries.
“We intend to lift the ban completely after technical teams from Uganda and Kenya come to a consensus that there is no risk of infection,” Mr Bett said.
He added that Kenya will only allow full access when assured that the bio-safety measures have been met by all suppliers.
“When there is a ban on trade of poultry you can imagine the impact it creates on business. As soon as we are all in agreement that the disease is not present in Uganda, then normalcy will resume,” said Mr Bett.
The outbreak of the virulent H5 strain of avian flu in Uganda in January significantly crippled the poultry industry, which is driven by exports into the region. There are an estimated 40 million chickens in Uganda.
According to data from the Agriculture Ministry, Kenya imported 33.7 tonnes of poultry meat worth $70,000 and 120 tonnes of eggs worth $120,000, last year.
Avian flu is a highly infectious disease that affects many animals, including humans, rats, mice and dogs.
The outbreak was first detected in wild ducks on the Ugandan side of Lake Victoria at Lutembe beach near Entebbe in Masaka and Wakiso districts.