From recent reports and statistics, it appears that the unprecedented Avian Flu outbreak, that resulted in the culling of around 8,5 million chickens, is dying down. The attention therefore now shifts to the AGOA discussions which took place this last weekend. And debate continues about the necessity to import eggs and chicken to mitigate possible food shortages
Imports of eggs and poultry into South Africa in order to help the local industry to recover has created mixed feelings among poultry farmers. On the one hand, some farmers have welcomed the new injection of fertilised eggs while small farmers are dismayed, saying that imports are not necessary.
The threat of avian flu worldwide continues, however, with more countries being hit by the virus for the first time. The next South American country to find AI among its flocks is Mexico.
The focus has now shifted to next year’s AGOA negotiations. Again, contradictory messages are emerging from the South African government. On the one hand, President Ramaphosa is stressing the importance of AGOA to economic growth in South Africa while his own government seem to be going out of their way to defy AGOA compliance with their support of Hamas and Putin.
There also does not seem to be official consensus regarding just how important AGOA is to South Africa. While Uganda (which was removed from AGOA because of its homophobic stance) is defiant, there are a number of local commentators and economists that are urging caution.
And finally, small farmers continue to excel, showing the poultry farming is a good activity for emerging farmers.