Ahead of the festive season, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has assured consumers that there was sufficient supply of eggs and poultry, as panic buying continues.
AHEAD of the festive season, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has assured consumers that there was sufficient supply of eggs and poultry, as panic buying continues.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the department said egg stock levels were replenishing steadily and that there was no need for panic buying of the product.
The department said it had open import permits for eggs and poultry products from a few countries.
Brazil, the US, Argentina and others have been exporting eggs to South Africa for some time, with the department processing import permit applications from a few more countries.
The country battled two strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) – H5N1 and H7N6 – and resultant outbreaks across provinces.
The HPAI affects poultry and wild birds, and in South Africa millions of birds and chickens have been culled to contain the spread of the virus.
Farmers are required to cull infected animals in accordance with the Animal Diseases Act of 1984.
To date, 8.5 million chickens have been culled to curb outbreaks.
“We are happy that the HPI outbreak is under control and that 70% of farms that were not infected continue to produce eggs and chickens.
“Since the egg production cycle is not too long, we expect the situation to normalise early next year,” the department said.
“We will continue to import more eggs should the situation not improve.”
“We have increased fertilised eggs from 1.9 million to 9 million in less than one month.
“These eggs will be chickens in less than four months.”
Earlier this month, the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) said a full recovery of the sector was expected within 18 to 24 months.
“…the disease infection rate has peaked; while infected birds are still culled, the rate of infection has decreased dramatically from where it was a few months ago.
“It will still take a while to fully recover (18 to 24 months), although the period may be shortened if the government compensated our farmers for culling infected flock.”