It is true that 2017 started with a bang for the poultry industry. The industry has had more excitement in the first month of 2017 than it had in 12 months of some of the previous years. Most of the news is on the woes of the broiler industry; however, in the eyes of the public, the poultry industry includes all chickens. This has provided an opportunity for the industries to table all their issues at the desks of some of the most influential government officials. This is the year when the poultry industry gets to be listened to and be heard.
The plan is to build on the current momentum and make sure that the interests of all the broiler and layer farmers are taken care of - from the cost of feed, to low farm-gate prices, to the role of retailers and other stakeholders in the value chain. We see an opportunity to instil pride in our consumers and to get them to support South African products.
The goodness of eggs campaign
We are currently investigating the possibility of developing a South African mark that will identify locally produced products that consumers can buy with certainty and support the local industry. We wish to make this available to SAPA members as one of the benefits of being a member. This is also important to assure consumers of the quality of the product they are buying. There will need to be an auditing function that we are still debating and thrashing out.
Egg industry global competitiveness study
Together with the Bureau of Food and Agriculture Policy, we have made inroads in preparation for the global competitive study for eggs. This is important for the industry as it will dispel any myths that may be in the consumers’ mind when it comes to the technical abilities of South African egg producers. The study will look at the breakdown of costs and see
how South Africa fares. An example of this wqould be the cost of maize compared to other countries and how that influences the price of feed, and therefore production costs. This study will assist the industry to improve where required and also communicate to our consumers. The study will be extended to other parts of the production value chain to uncover where efficiencies and margins are lost.
Egg levy application
We are pleased to report that the preliminary egg levy application has been submitted to the National Agriculture Marketing Council (NAMC) for consideration. The NAMC has come back with some recommendations for amendments and additions which we are working on. The application is for a levy rate of R0.01 per dozen eggs sold to the trade. The application is necessary in order to secure the future of the egg industry and to deal with the deficit that seems to be growing year on year - even after severe cuts in expenditure. Failing to secure the levy will leave SAPA with no choice but to close down the Egg Organisation (EO). We are relying on your support to ensure the sustainability of the EO. That said, we will be sending a form to the egg producers and main suppliers in which we request that you indicate your support for the levy. We ask that the form be completed and returned to SAPA timeously to enable SAPA to submit the final application to the NAMC.
Disease control intensification
The Director of the Poultry Disease Management Agency (PDMA) Dr Ziyanda Majokweni has been busy getting herself up to speed with the projects and programmes that had been initiated over the past five years. The European Union Commission paid South Africa an inspection visit in 2016 to establish the possibility of reopening their markets for raw ostrich meat. The visit highlighted some shortfalls in the way the poultry and ostrich farmers control and report diseases to the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It has become rather apparent that we need to relook the way we handle disease outbreaks and how we monitor the notifiable diseases, particularly Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease.
The Poultry Health and Welfare Working Group of SAPA will be going back to the drawing board to see how, through the PDMA, disease control can be strengthened. The disease mapping initiative will be revived and strengthened to get a better handle on the national disease status. This will also include how the industry uses and manages antibiotics in the flocks as part of the antimicrobial stewardship programme where each industry has to come up with plans to monitor and reduce antibiotic use. The industry plan will feed into DAFF’S plan, which will in turn feed into the South African National Antimicrobial Plan. The residue programme, in collaboration with DAFF, is being reviewed and a new programme will be implemented as soon as possible.
Provincial Organisations roll-out
In November 2016, SAPA held its first Provincial Organisation meeting in KZN. The Association is planning more meetings for 2017. The target was to hold at least four additional meetings before Avi Africa in June. Since sponsorships are fundamental in the affordability of these meetings, SAPA is on a drive to solicit as funding from various organisation. It is unfortunate that SAPA is not in a financial position to afford these activities, so our suppliers have been very generous and we count on their continuing support. The next meeting will be held in Gauteng at Usambara Lodge in Johannesburg on 15 February 2017. We look forward to seeing you there.¡