South African poultry farmers have been hit hard by Eskom’s recent power outages in different parts of the country.
According to an eNCA news report, the South African Poultry Farmers Association states that disruptions to the heating system due to power outages have forced many farmers to monitor bird deaths. The Association added that birds do not eat or drink during a power outage on the farm.
Izaak Breitenbach, Head of the Broiler Committee of the South African Poultry Farmers Association, said the impact on the poultry industry is multifaceted and impacts businesses along the value chain. Breitenbach added that as the slaughterhouse operates with limited storage capacity, ongoing and unexpected power outages are also creating a “logistic nightmare.”
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Eskom’s Load Shedding Schedule
In addition to Eskom’s ongoing power outage schedule, which reached Phase 6 earlier this month, farmers in Limpopo, the northwest and Mpumalanga also suffered a serious and unplanned power outage called “load scaling.”
According to a Business Insider news report, Agri Limpopo investigated the impact of reducing the workload of farmers in the state (other than the poultry industry). Of the 154 farmers interviewed, 146 were found to be affected. Approximately 116 farmers said they would use a generator to implement load reduction.
According to the survey, the cumulative cost of farmers to operate generators was R304,855 per day, and each farmer’s bill was R2,628 on average. According to Agri Rinpopo, poultry farms lose large amounts of chicken every time they spend unheated.
Deidre Carter, CEO of Agri Limpopo said that the industry cannot continue to absorb costs associated with poor and failing governance, adding that the continued sustainability, let alone growth and global competitiveness of the agricultural sector, is at stake. Carter urges the government to intervene in this issue and urgently develop a coherent plan to address the root cause of Escom’s unilaterally implemented load reduction strategy.
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