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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Bird flu cracks supply of eggs in some of parts of SA

The number of cases is higher than in any other year since the first outbreaks were reported in 2017.

The Department of Agriculture says the outbreak of Avian Flu has posed challenges and impacted the supply of eggs in some regions of the country.

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza met with the retailers on Monday to discuss the impact of Avian Flu in South Africa.

The meeting followed a discussion held with the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) last Friday.


Department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said: “In today’s meeting, the minister briefed the retailers on the containment measures that have been taken to limit the spread of the disease as well as possible solutions to manage such outbreaks in the short and the medium-term including vaccination.

“It was evident from today’s engagement that the main challenge is primarily on the egg production side, where there are supply constraints in some regions of the country. In response to this challenge, the Minister is focusing on measures to improve the availability of egg supply to consumers and simultaneously putting measures to contain the spread of the disease,” Ngcobo said.

ALSO READ: Govt to import eggs and fast-tracks vaccines after lethal bird flu outbreak

Importing eggs

Ngcobo said Didiza was focussing on improving efficiency in issuing import permits for egg products to ensure sufficient supplies for consumers.

“In addition, the Minister is looking at the possibility of vaccination and currently reviewing applications by various suppliers. On the broiler side, Ministers Didiza and [Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim] Patel are assessing some trade instruments to ease the supply of chicken meat.”

Earlier this month, the Sapa said the country was contending with two different strains of the virus, the infamous H5N1 and a new strain identified as H7N6.

Sapa said the number of Avian Flu cases in South Africa was higher this year than in any other year since the first outbreaks were reported in commercial farms in 2017.


Meanwhile, the government is planning to fast-track the use of vaccines to fight the bird flu outbreak.

Gauteng has been the hardest hit with HPAI H7 outbreaks and 37 reported cases, followed by Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northwest with two cases each, while the Free State has one reported case

Ngcobo said 107,705 chickens had died so far, while the reported number of chickens culled at commercial chicken farms exceeded 1.3 million.

ALSO READ: Dark days and empty plates as SA food insecurity takes wing

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