16 Nov 2023 | GCIS
Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, has assured South Africans that the avian influenza outbreak is under control, with 70% of farms not infected by the disease and continuing to produce eggs and chickens.
In a statement issued by the department, Didiza said the egg stock levels are replenishing steadily and there is no need for panic buying at this stage.
“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,” Didiza said.
Didiza said the department has a few open import permits for eggs and poultry products from a few countries.
The Minister noted that the import of table eggs, including fertilised eggs, pasteurised eggs, egg powder and liquid eggs, has been on-going for many years in South Africa, and has not only started with the current outbreak of avian influenza, also known as ‘avian flu’ or ‘bird flu’.
“Other countries including Brazil, USA and Argentina have been exporting eggs to South Africa for quite some time, and the department is currently processing import permit applications from a few more countries.
“The department does not dictate which countries should make business sense for South African retailers to import eggs from, it only ensures that biosecurity risk assessments are conducted when importers apply for import permits,” Didiza said.
Didiza added that since the egg production cycle is not too long, the department expects the situation to normalise early next year.
“We will continue to import more eggs should the situation not improve,” the Minister said.
To prepare for the festive season, Didiza said a total of nine million fertilised eggs have been imported, including 37 802 tons of day-old chicks, 62 metric tons of egg products, and 30 986 metric tons of poultry meat.