JOHANNESBURG - Western Cape province minister of economic opportunities Alan Winde said on Monday 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 with at a cost project to around R800 million in immediate losses to the industry. In response to this outbreak, the Western Cape government has convened a Joint Operations Centre (JOC).
The JOC is being headed by the Western Cape department of agriculture, the provincial disaster management centre, the department of social development and the department of environmental affairs and development planning.
“The Western Cape is the worst affected province in South Africa. In some regions, poultry production farms are clustered in a specific area. In other provinces, cases have occurred at locations far removed from these hubs,” Winde said.
The outbreak has hit the Paardeberg area, the region with the highest concentration of poultry farms. Anton Bredell, minister of environmental affairs, local government and development planning, said the provincial disaster management centre (PDMC) was assisting the department of agriculture with the coordinatiason of steps to mitigate the effects of the avian influenza outbreak.
“The PDMC is also in constant communication with the National Disaster Management centre and the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF).
In August Astral Foods said the outbreak had cost the company R50m as two of its operations were affected.
The province said a Humanitarian Relief plan was being drafted this week to support farming communities affected by the outbreak and a monitoring system in place to mitigate environmental impact.
The government anticipates a moderate increase in egg prices in the short term which could likely return to normal levels relatively quickly. “This is of concern as more than 900 000 households buy eggs in the province and another 1.2 million households buy chicken meat, the main animal protein source for the majority of poor households,” the department said. -