Discover the impact of avian flu on South Africa’s egg prices. Learn how a shortage of poultry stock has led to significant price hikes.
<h1> South African Egg Prices Soar Amidst Avian Flu Outbreak </h1?
Egg prices in South Africa have surged due to the ongoing outbreak of avian flu. In just one month, the cost of 60 eggs has risen three times faster than the inflation rate. South Africa is currently facing a severe shortage of both chicken and eggs, as a highly pathogenic avian influenza strain has caused significant losses in poultry stocks.
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) reports that 5 million birds have been culled this year, accounting for 20% of the country’s commercial layer flock. Furthermore, 30% (2.5 million) of the national broiler breeder population, which produces the genetic stock for chickens, has been culled. This has led to a scarcity of egg-laying hens and a substantial increase in poultry product prices across the country.
Data from the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD) reveals that egg prices have surged by 20% from September to October 2023 alone, marking a 36% year-on-year increase. The cost of 60 eggs has risen from R136 to R162 during this period, almost three times the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase of 8.1% recorded in September 2023.
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of Southern Africa (AMIE) reports that some wholesalers have also seen a 20% price increase for whole birds and chicken hearts, a 17% increase for chicken necks, and a 25% increase for chicken carcasses and bones.
Deputy President Paul Mashatile announced at the end of October that the government would soon provide a support package for farmers affected by the avian flu outbreak. This response came after calls from the poultry industry for government assistance to address the outbreak, which has resulted in significant losses and quarantines affecting 12% of the country’s chicken industry.
While the local poultry industry has taken measures to mitigate shortages, such as importing over 50 million hatching eggs over the next six months, it is expected that the shortage will persist for some time. Fully restoring the parent stock of chickens in the country is estimated to take between 12 to 18 months, even with the avian flu under control, according to the AMIE.