The South African poultry industry is on track to recover from the recent outbreak
of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza that began in January, the South African Department of Agriculture
stated on Wednesday.
Many poultry farmers have been hit hard by the outbreak and have not received compensation for these losses under the Animal Diseases Act, according to the South African Poultry Association.
However, the government's and industry's quick response mitigated the worst effects of the outbreak, providing assistance to the industry, especially in the face of the upcoming December holidays. In particular, the government has purchased fertilized eggs, egg products, poultry meat, etc.
To contain outbreaks of H7 and H5 variants of avian influenza, 8.5 million chickens were culled, including more than 2.5 million broiler breeders and approximately 6 million of laying hens, the South African Poultry Association estimated, which ultimately led to the egg shortage. The general manager Izaak Breitenbach of the Association also called the recent outbreak "by far the worst," according to the Associated Press.
Although the outbreak has been contained, the South African poultry industry faces other challenges, the association said. In particular, lack of equipment, insufficient access to fresh water, power outages
and big discounts on imported chicken take a lot of resources away from the local industry to remain competitive.