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Eggs shortage at some retail stores

Published Oct 2, 2023


South Africans have expressed concern about the shortage of eggs and its surging price.

Consumers are wondering if this could be due to an outbreak of avian influenza currently in South Africa.

Some retailers were seen to have little supply of stock in chicken, while some posted communication advising customers only to purchase one pack of eggs, citing that there is a shortage of eggs.

“Due to the national shortage on the eggs supply, we need to limit you to 1 pack size. Rest assured, we will do everything possible to get you eggs,” said the note in one of the well known retail stores.

The DA, in a media statement, had written to Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza requesting that her department ‘urgently’ help farmers with the procurement and registration of vaccines and providing financial support to rebuild their businesses.

DA shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Noko Masipa, said reports suggest that millions of birds have already died, causing significant industry losses.

“The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development’s slow response is concerning as it threatens food security and raises chicken prices, impacting vulnerable families. Namibia has even suspended chicken imports from South Africa due to the outbreak,” Masipa said.

She said to address this crisis, the DA recommends providing financial support to affected farmers, reporting the exact number of bird deaths and the monetary losses incurred, sourcing, testing, registering, and supplying poultry vaccines within 30-90 days and establishing emergency funding packages between the government and the private sector.

“Minister Didiza must remove some of the restrictive red tape on vaccine registration to ensure speedy procurement of effective vaccines. Concurrent to the procurement of vaccines, an extensive monitoring system must be put in place to quarantine severely affected areas to prevent the further spreading of the disease.

“It is crucial that this avian flu outbreak is contained as quickly as possible to save the local poultry industry, preserve jobs and ensure the continued supply of affordable chicken to consumers. The DA will fight to ensure poultry farmers are assisted as soon as possible to avert possible collapse of the industry,” said Masipa.

Speaking in an interview with one a broadcaster, Paul Makube, an agricultural economist, said there’s been supply challenges on the eggs side due to the avian flu.

“In the eggs industry, if you have an outbreak, you depopulate the birds. You don't have eggs tomorrow, and that is the reason why there is the situation where there is challenges in supply at retail level,” said Makube.

He said when it comes to chicken and meat, there should not be a shortage at the moment.

Makube said customers are not panic buying as the country is battling with load shedding.

Thinelihle Tootsmathela took to X and wrote: “By end of October could be R200 possible. There is no chicken or egg production because of the Avian Flu ku bird bafethu. Chicken and eggs prices going up.”

Another user Kgaogelo Mosetsa wrote: “This virus will wipe out the entire poultry industry the truth is our government leaders are not agricultural they spend many years in exile while our Whites communities were the ones spending their entire life in farms and agricultural studies.”

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