Astral Foods foresees more than 400% jump in earnings amid bird flu jitters

SOUTH AFRICA – In a report to shareholders, Astral Foods expects growth in earnings by more than 400% amidst bird flu jitters and the latest Listeriosis outbreak that has caused anxiety in the meat industry. According to the company, it expects its headline earnings per share to grow despite the costs that came with the outbreak of the disease and persistent high prices for feeds. Bird flu disease, one of the major challenges in the South African poultry industry came in the midst of other challenges including high feed costs,…

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No decision yet on bird flu vaccination – Minister

SOUTH AFRICA – Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said state veterinarians were still assessing whether South Africa’s chickens should be vaccinated amid the country’s worst ever bird flu outbreak. Zokwana was answering questions in the National Council of Provinces on Tuesday. Over four million chickens have been culled this year following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. This is the first time that a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu has been detected in poultry in South Africa. Zokwana also said that a formula for compensation for affected farmers had…

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SA poultry producers to import hatching eggs from Europe

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,…

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Producers to boost biosecurity measures after bird flu outbreak

SOUTH AFRICA – SA poultry farmers are scrambling to boost biosecurity measures to curb the spread of the virus, as government considers rolling out a vaccination programme. Speaking to Fin24 by phone on Tuesday, Greg Celliers, a veterinarian for the commercial egg divisions of the Kuipers Group, said farmers are at the mercy of nature when it comes to controlling the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza of the strain H5N8. He said poultry farmers and government were “caught on the back foot” when the virus started to spread. “We…

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‘Devastating’ bird flu culling to cost SA farm US$5m

SOUTH AFRICA – The bird flu outbreak at operations of a Gauteng poultry producer has cost it R35m (US$2.6m), plus an additional R30m (US$2.2m) to restore operations. Gauteng MEC of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile visited a poultry farm in Gauteng, Rooikraal Arendnes, on Tuesday. Producers of Eggbert Eggs – part of the Kuipers Group – unpacked the impact of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) on its operations to the MEC and journalists. Maile visited the farm and met with management to get a better…

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Massive cull to stop avian flu costs Zim company $7.2m

ZIMBABWE – Irvine’s, one of Zimbabwe’s largest food producers, suffered losses of $7.2m after culling chickens due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Irvine’s parent company Innscor on Wednesday said that it had culled 835,000 birds after an avian influenza outbreak at one of its farms. “With the help of the responsible authorities, we culled 835,000 birds made up of broiler breeders and layer breeders,” said Innscor CEO Julian Schonken. “We decided to cull all the birds at the affected farm to make sure that the disease does…

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Bird flu costs Western Cape US$59 million

SOUTH AFRICA – Western Cape minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde said yesterday that his province had suffered the most with reported cases of avian influenza in the country. So far this year, the province has confirmed 36 cases and 70 ostrich farms are under quarantine. Winde said in excess of 2 million birds had died as a result and some have been culled at a cost projected to be around R800 million (US$59 million) in immediate losses to the industry. In response to this outbreak, the Western Cape government…

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Astral sells feed business to Cargill, to focus on poultry operations

SOUTH AFRICA – Southern African integrated poultry producer Astral Foods is ridding itself of a noncore asset in an effort to sharpen its focus on its poultry business. Astral reported on Wednesday that it had sold off its stake in animal nutrition business Provimi to US-based food and agriculture company Cargill for an undisclosed amount. The group could not comment on the acquisition, a spokeswoman for Astral said, citing a closed period. However, she described the cost of the acquisition as “immaterial” in terms of the JSE’s listing requirements. But…

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Bird flu costs RCL Foods nearly US$2m

SOUTH AFRICA – One of South Africa’s largest food producers RCL Foods on Wednesday said that it had suffered R26m (US$1.96m) in losses from culling chickens due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. “(Avian influenza) has recently been detected at the company’s Heuningdal breeder farm in the Western Cape, situated between Malmesbury and Darling, after also having experienced a small outbreak at our Viva breeder farm near Muldersdrift in Gauteng,” it said in a statement. RCL Foods said poultry at both sites had been culled, with a loss…

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