June 27, 2022
South Africa's poultry and egg prices could rise due to bird flu outbreak
Prices of poultry and eggs in South Africa could rise as chicken farmers in the country are coping with a H5N1 bird flu outbreak, with the Western Cape province worst affected, Independent Online reported.
68 cases were reported in the Western Cape. Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces reported 39 and 18 outbreaks respectively.
3.7 million hens were forced to be culled, mostly in the egg sector.
According to the SA Poultry Association (SAPA), there have been 145 cases reported in the nation since the virus's first outbreak in April of last year, with 13 additional outbreaks reported in the first three months of this year.
According to the association, the egg industry in the Western Cape has lost the most money, with an estimated 30.6% of their layers being affected by the bird flu outbreak.
In the Western Cape, close to 1.5 million birds that laid eggs and close to 330 000 broilers chicken for meat production had to be culled, according to SAPA's monitoring report for January to March.
Farmers were advised by South Africa's Department of Agriculture to exercise extreme caution because the disease was more likely to spread during the winter. Consumers were in for bad news because farmers may have to raise prices as a result.
According to fundamental economics, if demand exceeds supply, prices will rise. The disease is therefore likely to have a negative impact on production.
Daniel Johnson, spokesperson for the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, said the price increase in a country that already has high inflation from other external factors would be disastrous for consumers and to food security as chicken is one of the affordable protein sources.
The Department of Agriculture said preventing domestic poultry from coming into contact with wild birds is one of the precautionary measures against the virus. To stop the spread, it was also crucial to quickly isolate and kill any infected birds.
- Independent Online