SOUTH AFRICA – Poultry producers have planned to import hatching eggs from Europe, after the outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza virus commonly known as bird flu, resulted to shortages in the country.
The H5N8 avian influenza virus had been detected in several countries, with South Africa worst hit triggering shortages in both regional and local markets.
Fairhill Chickens, Gweru-based chicken producer is already making efforts to source hatchery eggs from Europe amid complains that the imports would be very expensive.
Fairhill Chickens managing director, Mr Trevor Shaw, told Business Chronicle that while importing from Europe was very expensive, other SADC countries cannot satisfy local demand.
“We have made plans to get hatching eggs from other places particularly Europe.
Government has taken off 40% duty on hatching eggs from non-SADC countries and we are now able to bring hatching eggs from Europe.
This is because there is no surplus from other SADC countries because South Africa, which is the biggest producer, has also been hit hard by bird flu and its products have been suspended.
We are, however, receiving hatching eggs from Zambia and Botswana but they are not adequate for local market,” he said.
He also expressed concerns that the importation of hatching eggs could increase the price in the poultry products in the markets since Europe imports were expensive.
“What this means is that chicks are going to cost a dollar each up from 55 cents a month ago.
This, therefore, means there is close to a 100% increase in the price of the chicks, which has an effect on the price of chickens,” he added.