Poultry association to import eggs to curb avian influenza spread


File: Poultry producers are worried about the effects of the bird flu on the local industry.

JOHANNESBURG – The country's poultry industry believes importing fertilised eggs may mitigate the losses suffered by the industry, amid an avian influenza outbreak.

But government is hesitant, saying it’s a complicated matter.

So far the outbreak has been detected in four provinces.

READ: Poultry industry, government agree on bird flu strategies

The cold conditions seem to be spreading avian flu among the country’s chickens. Wild birds such as ostrich have not been spared.

The CEO of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), Charlotte Nkuna said, "We always knew it would spread. The problem with this strain is it's carried by wild birds, so it's very difficult to predict where it's going to pop  up next.”

READ: Possible incidence of bird flu in Western Cape

With 600,000 birds already culled since June, Nkuna said it would cause economic disaster for the industry if the outbreak was not curtailed.

Nkuna said the only reason there had as yet been no job losses in the industry was because farmers were taking the knock and retaining workers. But this could not continue indefinitely.

SAPA wants government to allow the import of eggs that are free from infections. Government said it would have an answer for them by the end of the week.