In a bid to avoid a shortage of eggs and poultry meat during the festive season, Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza has given the green light to importers, amid the avian influenza wreaking havoc in the poultry industry.
“The Department Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, working with all stakeholders in the poultry industry, is doing everything possible to contain the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) which is plaguing not only South Africa but other parts of the world as well,” said Reggie Ngcobo, national spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
“Minister Didiza has decided to allow the importation of table eggs, fertilised eggs and poultry meat to ensure sufficient stocks are available on time for the Christmas holiday season.”
Ngcobo said since September 1, the department has granted: 115 permits for fertilised eggs; 48 permits for egg powder; 2,406 permits for poultry meat; and 24 permits for table eggs.
“A permit might be for up to a shipping container or 10,000 tons. With the above permits having been issued, the following consignments have already arrived, while others are in transit: poultry meat imported - 34,511 metric tonnes; hatching eggs - 1.9 million; day old chicks - 5 840,” he said.
Avian influenza is a disease usually carried in wild birds. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds but can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
Earlier this week, IOL reported that with an official case of the H7 high pathogenicity avian influenza detected in George at the weekend, a Khayelitsha farmer said fears that her poultry would become infected had prevented her from growing her business.
The Western Cape had until Friday managed to avert an outbreak that has spread in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Free State and Limpopo in recent months.