South Africa's already fragile poultry industry is under serious threat.

The industry faces a trade ban after this month’s bird flu outbreak in Mpumalanga.

This is the first outbreak ever of the feared Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) or bird flu in South African chickens.

On Monday, the department confirmed a second case of avian flu in Standerton, after the first outbreak in a broiler breeder site near Villiers last Thursday.

The outbreak poses a great threat to the industry, said Dr Charlotte Nkuna, senior executive at the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), who said South Africa’s trade partners have threatened to ban South African poultry.

However, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has requested the partners to allow exports from registered compartments.

This consists of an option of exporting raw fresh meat, eggs, and live birds in line with the World Organisation for Animal Health.

“It is therefore the decision of the importing country whether to allow the South African compartment establishments to export to them,” she said.

Department spokesperson Bomikazi Molape said South Africa’s export certification demands that the country certify freedom of the disease in the whole republic.