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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Didiza grants thousands of permits for chicken, egg imports to ensure supplies for Christmas

Since last month, the agriculture department has granted 115 permits for fertilised eggs and 2 406 for poultry meat.

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza has granted thousands of permits for the importation of eggs and poultry meat to ensure sufficient stocks is available for the holiday season.

The department said on Thursday that it was working with all stakeholders in the poultry industry following the outbreak of bird flu.

Spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said the department is doing everything possible to contain the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) plaguing not only South Africa but other parts of the world as well.

“Minister Didiza has decided to allow the importation of table and fertilised eggs and poultry meat to ensure sufficient stocks is available on time for the Christmas holiday season.”

ALSO READ: Woolworths limits eggs you can buy: here’s how many and how much it’ll cost


Ngcobo said since 1 September 2023, it has granted 115 permits for fertilised eggs, 48 for egg powder, 2 406 for poultry meat and 24 permits for table eggs. A permit might be for up to 10 000 tons or a shipping container.  

Ngcobo said with the permits having been issued, it has resulted in a number of consignments having already arrived, while others are in transit.

“These are 34 511 metric tons of poultry meat, 1.9 million eggs and 5 840 day-old chicks on their way. About 930 000 travelled by road from OR Tambo International  Airport to eSwatini,” Ngcobo said.

Egg rationing

Earlier this month, a few retailers started rationing the quantity of eggs each consumer could buy.

“Due to the shortage caused by the avian flu, we need to prioritise the use of availablility that meet our standards of food safety and quality for Woolies products made with eggs. As a temporary measure, we therefore have to limit whole egg purchases to 1 pack of six per customer,” Woolworths said.

Pick n Pay said it was also planning to limit the amount consumers could buy to around one or two packs per customer, depending on the region, while Shoprite had no plans to do so yet.

At the time Didiza said the impact of the avian flu on egg prices won’t be “that adverse”, despite widespread shortages and the cost rising sharply over the past few months.

ALSO READ: SA stores could get more eggs on shelves as industry turns to liquid and powder forms

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