South Africa’s poultry farmers have had to cull nearly 10 million chicks due to the country’s power crisis, which has slowed down production and created a backlog in processing. The power cuts, caused by the struggling state-owned power company Eskom, have affected the ability of farmers to run slaughterhouses on a 24-hour schedule, resulting in a drop in production by a quarter.

The South African Poultry Association warns that if the government does not resolve the power shortage soon, the price of chicken will increase and there could be a shortage of chicken in the country, along with job losses. The power cuts are also affecting the entire food production chain and the Agricultural Business Chamber is conducting a survey to determine the cost to South African agriculture.

Izaak Breytenbach, general manager of the South African Poultry Association, said “We’ve seen material increase of chicken prices of about 17% in the period 2021 to 2022.”

Despite power shortages with the average downtime of 20-30%, the government last week announced an 18% increase in electricity prices this year (probably to maintain income), but could not say when the blackouts would end.

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