South Africa: Avian Flu Sees Four Million Chickens Destroyed, Raising Egg Conundrum for SA Consumers

(file photo).

Avian flu has triggered an egg shortage in South Africa -- and some industry players have raised concerns about supplies of chicken meat.

Bird flu came first, and the result for South African consumers is a chicken-and-egg conundrum.

As we reported earlier this week, major retailers, including Spar, have flagged a shortage of eggs linked to outbreaks of avian flu.

There are also concerns about the chicken-meat supply chain, and the price of poultry-based protein remains on the boil at a time when food and wider consumer inflation rates in South Africa have been cooling.

According to the latest monthly Household Affordability Index compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, the price of frozen chicken portions rose during August by 3%.

South African consumer inflation slowed to a two-year low of 4.7% on an annual basis in July, but Statistics South Africa noted that the price increase for eggs, milk and cheese accelerated to 14.4% from 14.1% in June.

Dr Abongile Balarane, the CEO of the South African Poultry Association, said this week in an interview with Daily Maverick that the situation was "catastrophic", but that the egg crunch should ease by October.

Balarane said the earlier cases of the H5N1 strain of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), detected at the end of April on farms outside Paarl in...

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