Our news cycle this fortnight has been dominated by the news that South Africa has been hit by the worst avian flu outbreak in its history. The implications for this are concerning, as the disease and its control – culling – will result in the deaths of millions of chickens and a shortage of eggs and poultry.
On a macro scale, the effects of the epidemic could have a major effect on local food security.
In order to understand the issue, ChickenFacts has compiled a Fact Sheet with background information on Avian Flu and is working on an Avian Flu Barometer which will keep a running tally of cases (link).
The twin blows of power cuts and avian flu are affecting our food security, and this Reuters report sets out the dangers quite clearly.
Food inflation and food security is at stake, and this report from IOL sets out the most comprehensive explanation.
However, despite reports that we face a chicken-less Christmas, the industry is hopeful that shortages will ease by October.
But even if there are not actual shortages, it is inevitable that the price will go up, say poultry producers. So expect emptier shelves at the supermarket.
South Africa’s localisation policy – most obviously in the form of the high import tariffs that protect our local industries from foreign competition – is not the right path, says the Centre for Development and Enterprise.
According to the report, government policy should be concentrating on making local industries competitive as a long term strategy rather than short-term protectionism.
You are not wrong – you ARE paying more and more for less and less.
We are now also making the acquaintance of the concept called the ‘rocket and feather effect’ – prices go up quickly but come down slowly.
The AGOA discussions with the US seem to fluctuate from good to non-committal. In this latest report, the US is signalling that Africa (especially South Africa) no longer enjoys the type of support it did in the past.and that all trade rebates need to come with a health warning.
The South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (the dtic) will be co-hosting the United States of America’s African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum for 2023. The summit takes place on 2– 4 November 2023 in Johannesburg.
Avian Flu Barometer
South America is the last place on earth where bird flu (HPIA) has not taken hold, but the news is not good.
If exporter, Brazil is affected by avian flu, the consequences will be felt around the world.
Support Industry News
‘Chicken feed’ usually refers to something cheap, but our poultry industry has made it clear that chicken feed is anything but cheap! However, there is good news from Africa and good news for small and emerging farmers in South Africa.
Opportunities are available in the market for chemical manufacturers to enter the field of poultry disinfectants.
The Last Word
And finally …
If your wallet just seems to get thinner and thinner, don’t feel alone. There is a widening wage gap in South Africa depending on a person’s profession, gender, status and age. This IOL report about recent statistics will confirm the gloomy view that life is not fair.