November 20, 2023
South Africa says bird flu outbreak under control
South Africa's Department of Agriculture announced that the country's severe bird flu outbreak, considered the worst on record, is now under control, signalling a positive shift in the nation's egg supplies, Reuters reported.
Since April, South Africa has been grappling with a high-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak, which prompted the culling of approximately six million egg layers and 2.5 million breeder chickens, constituting nearly a third of the national flock, as reported by the South African Poultry Association.
This mass culling created an egg shortage, raising concerns about potential shortages of poultry meat, especially as the festive season approaches.
In response to the crisis, the country's Department of Agriculture disclosed that the government has facilitated increased imports of various egg products, including eggs, fertilised eggs, egg powder, and liquid eggs, aiming to alleviate shortages.
In an official statement, the department expressed satisfaction with the control achieved over the HPAI outbreak, noting that 70% of uninfected farms continue to produce eggs and chickens. Additionally, the statement emphasised that egg stock levels are gradually replenishing.
Leading poultry producers and processors in South Africa, including Astral Foods, RCL Foods, and Quantum Foods, have voiced the detrimental impact of the bird flu outbreak on a sector already burdened by frequent electricity cuts and escalating costs.