APA-Johannesburg (South Africa) South Africa has lost at least 2.7 million chickens since July this year due to an avian flu outbreak in the country, a senior official at the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) has said.
SAPA general manager Izaak Breitenbach said on Tuesday that the provinces worst affected by the avian flu outbreak were Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape.
“In terms of the meat side of the business, we would expect shortages between now and December, although one must always keep in mind that we import about 10-20 percent of our total demand for chicken meat that we have — and we expect that demand to increase,” Breitenbach said.
He bemoaned the sharp increase in the price of eggs as a result of the outbreak, with a box of 60 eggs rising from about US$5 two months ago to around $7.90 at some shops.
“If you look at the total amount of birds that we culled that are supposed to produce stable eggs, we probably culled in excess of 30% of the nation’s flock and that is material,” Breitenbach said.
He added: “And if we look at the broiler breeders that eventually produce the broiler meat for us, we have culled in excess 20% of that flock.”
The volume of birds being culled has the effect to lower the supply of both eggs and meat, Breitenbach said.
The disease does not affect humans, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.