Govt urged to fast-track importation of eggs

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The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) CEO, Abongile Balarane says that 30% of the industry’s egg laying chickens have been wiped out. The association appeared before Parliament’s Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Committee, to give an update on the avian outbreak in the country.

He says they are suggesting to government that they fast-track the import of liquid and powder eggs and to rather consider neighbouring countries that are not affected by the bird flu outbreak.

“If we could fast-track the importation of liquid or powder eggs saying to government to fast-track opening border countries like Namibians. If I could choose as a consumer, I would rather have an egg coming from Namibia than South America.”

The number of layer chickens that have been culled due to the avian influenza outbreak is approaching 8 million for this year. This is according to the Balarane. Balarane says the country had 27 million layer chickens before the bird flu outbreak.

“We are sitting at 7.5 million, it includes both layers and the broilers but on broilers side it’s the broiler breeders. Over the years the number of birds we’ve lost is over 13 million birds.”

SA to cull millions of chickens to contain strains of avian influenza: 

Meanwhile, SAPA has called for a disaster fund to be set up for poultry producers as the country is battling a huge outbreak of avian influenza among chickens. Producers are battling financially because there is no compensation for those who cull their produce.

However, government says there is no money to compensate poultry producers for their losses. Agriculture Deputy DG, Dipepeneneng Serang explains.

“We as government, we simply don’t have funds to compensate. We know culling would take some of them out of business. It’s just one of those unfortunate things that we can’t afford even if we want to.”

Poultry farmers concerned that avian flu outbreak will lead to business losses: 

SAPA says it does not foresee a severe shortage of poultry products over the festive season, due to the spread of bird flu in the country.

The only province that has not been affected is the Northern Cape.

SAPA’s general manager, Izaak Breitenbach says there is sufficient stock and there should not be a need to import from countries like Brazil.

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