File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - After the listeriosis crisis hit South Africa in March this year, The People First Piggery in Rustenberg said that they are now down to slaughtering zero pigs per month. 

Prior to the crisis, the piggery claimed to have slaughtered at least 150 pigs each month. 

People First who purchases piglets from larger piggeries and supplies local butcheries is now left without any stock. Co-owner of the piggery, Petrus Lepota reportedly refused to restock because he was losing money by selling it at current prices, reports Bloomberg. 

Lepota also shed staff as a result of this. He reportedly said that the only hope is to pray. 

According to an April report by FNB Economist Paul Makube, the pork industry stood a chance to lose R1 billion as the price of the meat continued to decline in a fallout from the outbreak of listeriosis

Paul Makube, a senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business, said while the lower prices were concerning for the industry, they were a blessing for consumers feeling the pinch of rising food costs, who were likely to settle for pork as a cheaper alternative.

Makube said this trend would probably continue over the short term.

"The pork industry, unnecessarily suffered a severe blow following the recent outbreak of listeriosis, the loss to the value chain so far could exceed R1 billion," Makube said.

"Even though demand for processed and cold meats fell sharply due to the health and safety concerns from the listeriosis outbreak, pork farmers have now had to redirect the pigs for the fresh meat market thereby creating a surplus and in so doing have further increased pressure on low prices."

He said another positive for consumers was the decrease in the cost of maize, a large component of animal feed.

READ MORE: Pork industry may lose R1 billion - FNB economist

ALSO READ: Pork industry left squealing by ‘unfair’ listeriosis fears

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE