The SADC Acting Director for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), Mr. Bentry Chaura has called upon the media in the region to publicize the emergency of new Highly Pathogenic Notifiable Avian Influenza (H5N8) virus to support control of the virus which is known to have as high as 90% mortality rate among domestic and wild birds.
Mr Chaura was speaking on 11 August 2017, during the Media briefings organized by the SADC Communications and Public Relations at the OR TAMBO Building, Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Pretoria, in the sidelines of the series of meetings preceding the 37th SADC Council and Summit scheduled to be held on 19th August 2017.
Mr Chaura explained that the region was working hard to eradicate the pandemic, and so far the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo were affected by the H5N8 virus.
The Acting Director briefed the Media on the goals and objectives of the Directorate, which is one of the 10 directorates in the SADC Secretariat. The overall goal and objective of the Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate is to develop, promote, coordinate and facilitate harmonization of policies and programmes to increase agricultural production, productivity and competitiveness; promote sustainable utilization of natural resources and the environment and promote agricultural trade.
The Media briefing provided an opportunity for the SADC Directors to interact with the media and communicate some of the milestones achieved by the directorate, such as the development of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy, Fisheries programme, Law enforcement and anti-poaching Strategy.
Mr. Chaura announced the Launch of the SADC Regional Aquatic Animal Health Strategy (2016-2026) and the SADC Regional Aquaculture Strategy an Action Plan (2106-2026) which aim to improve national and regional aquatic biosecurity and aquatic animal health, and facilitate aquatic development and promote increase in aquaculture production and investment.