Farm­ers to bear costs of culled poul­try

Business Day - - NATIONAL - Bekezela Phakathi Par­lia­men­tary Writer phakathib@busi­nesslive.co.za

The poul­try in­dus­try, reel­ing from the deadly avian flu out­break, has been dealt an­other po­ten­tial blow, with the De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries con­firm­ing it will com­pen­sate farm­ers only for the culling of un­in­fected birds.

Out­breaks of the virus have been recorded in six prov­inces, which has put thou­sands of jobs on the line. The East­ern Cape recorded its first case of bird flu on Thurs­day.

The South African Poul­try As­so­ci­a­tion (Sapa) had called for a more holis­tic ap­proach in terms of com­pen­sat­ing farm­ers, in­clud­ing tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the labour and chem­i­cals used to clean farms that had been af­fected by the virus.

Af­fected farms have to cull all birds on the prop­erty and re­call and de­stroy all eggs as part of mea­sures to con­trol the spread of the virus. Farms also have to shut down pro­duc­tion for up to six months, while they em­bark on sur­veil­lance and clean­ing.

Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries Min­is­ter Sen­zeni Zok­wana said in a re­ply to a par­lia­men­tary ques­tion from the DA on Thurs­day that his de­part­ment would not com­pen­sate birds culled that were in­fected or had been in con­tact with poul­try in­fected with avian flu.

“Chick­ens in­fected with HPAI [highly path­o­genic avian in­fluenza] show an ex­tremely high mor­tal­ity rate within a very short pe­riod and no part of the car­casses can be used for any pur­pose, ex­cept for the pro­duc­tion of com­post on site.

“Eggs from in­fected sites must be de­stroyed as per the in­struc­tion on the quar­an­tine no­tice and such eggs are also con­sid­ered to have no value. De­tailed guide­lines on how com­pen­sa­tion will be ap­plied for the culling of un­in­fected birds are cur­rently be­ing de­vel­oped.”

He said the de­part­ment had not set aside any funds for the re­cent avian flu out­break.

“The de­part­ment has, how­ever, re­quested the min­is­ters’ com­mit­tee on the bud­get for funds to be al­lo­cated for the con­trol of the out­break and for pay­ing com­pen­sa­tion [for the culling of un­in­fected birds].”

Char­lotte Nkuna, the act­ing CE of Sapa, said the as­so­ci­a­tion was still await­ing the guide­lines on com­pen­sa­tion.

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