SOUTH AFRICA – Poultry sector in South Africa is on the verge of a crippling fall due to the continuous rolling blackouts that not only pose a food security threat to the country but also force residents to pay more for basic food items like chicken

The Democratic Alliance (DA) recently engaged with the South African Poultry Association to understand exactly what challenges the higher stages of load-shedding bring to their industry.

Bronwynn Engelbrecht, DA Gauteng spokesperson for Agriculture and Rural Development, said the situation in the industry has been made worse by the increased cost of living.

“The chickens are usually slaughtered at six weeks as they are the right size needed for fast food restaurants and retailers, but the slaughterhouse programme has been changed,” she added.

She said that slaughtering takes place 24 hours a day, five days a week; however, rolling blackouts at stages 5 and 6 create a backlog in the slaughtering process.

“This means that the chickens are older, larger, and consume more feed. The price of chicken has risen, leading to fewer consumers purchasing the product. Furthermore, the market for larger chickens is limited.”

Engelbrecht noted that the current situation has led farmers to have larger flocks of chicken roaming around owing to increased feed requirements.

However, she said that the government seems unmoved by the disastrous effect the rolling blackouts have created amongst those responsible for food security in the province while it should provide incentives for rooftop solar installations and allow excess electricity to be fed back into the grid.

The industry has already tabled questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL) to determine what assistance has been given to poultry farmers in the province, she sighted.

According to the industry, the government should remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on all chicken products.

We will keep pushing for an inter-governmental task team to be established to put measures in place to mitigate the effects of the rolling blackouts in the province,” it said.

They will keep pushing for an inter-governmental task team to be established to put measures in place to mitigate the effects of the rolling blackouts in the province.

“The national government should urgently consider privatizing Eskom to put an end to cadre deployment and only employ officials who are fit for purpose and provide incentives for rooftop solar installations and allow excess electricity to be fed back into the grid,” the industry noted.

Meanwhile, the South African government has warned the country’s veterinary and animal disease controls against reporting that the veterinary system and animal biosecurity system are broken.

It said that in its current format and design, the situation poses a major threat to the future of inclusive growth in the livestock industry in South Africa.

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