The avalanche of bad news about Avian Influenza, culling of birds and shortages of chicken and eggs is starting to abate, with better news in sight. The discussion has now moved to mitigation, vaccinations and changes to policy.
Avian Flu – an Existential Threat to our Domestic Poultry
What is emerging is that Avian Flu, which only arrived in our country a short six years ago, is an existential threat to our domestic poultry and that all solutions are now on the table.
These include a change in policy on imports; a more flexible and inclusive reworking of the Poultry Master Plan; stepping up vaccinations and genetic manipulation; and a different approach to containing the disease.
The main news stories this last week were still concerned with food shortages. There were different angles: some had simply to do with shortages of eggs and chicken meat. Some stories discussed egg substitutes while some focussed on the impact of the epidemic on large businesses and small ones. There were a number of stories that addressed concerns over food safety.
Despite reports about a decline in bird flu, it appears the industry will take more than a year to recover. Most recent reports suggest that chicken meat is still available in quantity, but eggs will remain in short supply. And despite chicken being available, it is likely that the price will rise sharply.
Zimbabwe is now also on high alert for Avian Flu.
Avian Flu Barometer
The Namibian poultry industry sees South Africa’s AI outbreak as an opportunity to revisit trade links and to start exporting poultry to South Africa while the South African hostility towards imports is seen as a long-term own goal.