Or­gan­i­sa­tion mat­ters

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS - Dr Char­lotte Nkuna

SABS, an­i­mal wel­fare and cage sizes

Fe­bru­ary was a good month for farm­ers as we wel­comed sig­nif­i­cant amounts of rains, much to the farm­ers’ re­lief. The im­pact of the fall army worm was also less than ini­tially feared, mean­ing that most of the maize crop is safe. It is hoped that these rains will trans­late to eas­ing, at least to some ef­fect, the price of maize and there­fore that of feed. With na­ture taken care of, the in­dus­try can fo­cus its en­ergy on its sus­tain­abil­ity and longevity.

Trans­for­ma­tion ac­tiv­i­ties

On Fri­day 3 March 2017, the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Forestry and Fish­eries, Honourable Sen­zeni Zok­wana, hosted a ser­vice de­liv­ery fo­rum. The Min­is­ter uses this as a plat­form where in­dus­tries can en­gage the Min­is­ter on var­i­ous is­sues and chal­lenges the in­dus­tries face. In turn, the

in­dus­tries take the op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide feed­back to the Min­is­ter on the ini­tia­tives they are tak­ing to grow the agri­cul­ture sec­tor and also how they plan to con­trib­ute to­wards the 1 mil­lion ad­di­tional jobs in agri­cul­ture by 2030. The grain, fruit, forestry and sugar in­dus­tries had the op­por­tu­nity to present their trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives. It would seem that trans­for­ma­tion in these in­dus­tries is not left to in­di­vid­ual or­gan­i­sa­tions, but rather they have pro­grammes that are funded by the in­dus­try and where gov­ern­ment money is used to sup­ple­ment in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tions.

While lis­ten­ing to the pre­sen­ta­tion, it dawned on me that in the poul­try in­dus­try, trans­for­ma­tion is still left to the in­di­vid­ual or­gan­i­sa­tions to trans­form their own en­ti­ties. At that mo­ment, one tried to think of ar­eas where the poul­try in­dus­try had cham­pi­oned such trans­for­ma­tion ini­tia­tives, and re­alised that trans­for­ma­tion to a large ex­tent is left in the hands of in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies. It be­came ap­par­ent that even though there is a plan, it re­quires in­dus­try buy-in and for the in­dus­try to chan­nel these ef­forts via the as­so­ci­a­tion to en­sure that the syn­er­gies are op­ti­mised and mean­ing­ful progress can be demon­strated.

There are many op­por­tu­ni­ties to ac­cess funds that gov­ern­ment has set aside for trans­for­ma­tion. To ac­cess such funds, the in­dus­try needs to have a plan that seeks to con­trib­ute to­wards gov­ern­ment’s ob­jec­tives of see­ing the suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion of black in­dus­tri­al­ists, as well as more par­tic­i­pa­tion by black peo­ple in the broiler and egg value chains.

It is para­mount that if pro­duc­ers are look­ing at en­ter­ing into trans­for­ma­tion trans­ac­tions, SAPA is en­gaged to as­sist in find­ing the right part­ners. SAPA can be in­stru­men­tal in iden­ti­fy­ing part­ners who are al­ready in­volved in the busi­ness and look­ing to grow their op­er­a­tions. We have gov­ern­ment’s sup­port and com­mit­ment; let us use it to en­hance the in­dus­try and fur­ther in­crease the in­dus­try’s con­tri­bu­tion to GDP.

Es­tab­lish­ment of Provin­cial Or­gan­i­sa­tions

In Novem­ber, SAPA held the first provin­cial meet­ing in KZN where 120 farm­ers at­tended. In Fe­bru­ary, the sec­ond meet­ing was held in Gaut­eng where 30 farm­ers were present. The next meet­ing will be held in the North West on 24 March 2017. SAPA has been in­vited to a poul­try farm­ers meet­ing in Sikhukhune, where more en­gage­ments will be held on how SAPA and the pro­duc­ers can as­sist strug­gling farm­ers who are find­ing it hard to stay afloat dur­ing these very dif­fi­cult and tur­bu­lent times. It is our hope that there will still be an in­dus­try to speak of when the dust set­tles.

Gaut­eng pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity project

The Gaut­eng Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment (GDARD) and SAPA en­tered into a Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stat­ing (MOU) to es­tab­lish an abat­toir for a group of black farm­ers in Gaut­eng and the North West. The project has since been adapted and will now be a pro­cess­ing and mar­ket­ing fa­cil­ity. The site has been se­cured at Tsh­wane Mar­ket. Thanks to the sup­port of As­tral and Coun­try Bird Hold­ings, the plans have been fi­nalised and the ma­te­rial has been or­dered through Swift and JF Equip­ment who will work to­gether to in­stall the pro­cess­ing line and the cold stor­age fa­cil­i­ties. SAPA plays the crit­i­cal role of co­or­di­nat­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties and en­gag­ing the ex­perts to en­sure that the fa­cil­ity that is de­liv­ered will be of the high­est stan­dard and will meet all the qual­ity re­quired by the cus­tomers. A com­pany will be ap­pointed to man­age the project and also de­liver the com­pleted prod­uct to the ben­e­fi­cia­ries. It is an ex­cit­ing ven­ture for SAPA and the part­ners GDARD who have en­trusted SAPA with the project to­gether with the man­age­ment of the funds that will bring it to fruition.

Egg levy ap­pli­ca­tion

As men­tioned pre­vi­ously, SAPA is in the process of ap­ply­ing for a levy for eggs. One of the re­quire­ments to qual­ify for a levy is that the said levy must be sup­ported by pro­duc­ers of at least 66% of the prod­uct for which the levy is be­ing sought. In the case of eggs, with an es­ti­mated 24 mil­lion plus hens, SAPA needs the sup­port of mem­bers ac­count­ing for 15.8 mil­lion hens. In re­sponse to the

let­ter sent to mem­bers, SAPA has re­ceived sup­port from pro­duc­ers ac­count­ing for 4 mil­lion hens. This fig­ure is less than 20% of the na­tional flock. It will be very dif­fi­cult to con­vince the NAMC to pub­lish a gazette for a levy that is sup­ported only by 25% of pro­duc­ers. We again urge you to con­sider sup­port­ing this so that all pro­duc­ers can con­trib­ute and ease the bur­den that is cur­rently born by a few pro­duc­ers. Should SAPA be un­suc­cess­ful in the at­tempt to se­cure a levy, then it will be left with no choice but to dis­solve the Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In­tro­duc­tion of in­spec­tion fees by DAFF

The Gov­ern­ment Gazette No. 402621, pub­lished on 17 Fe­bru­ary 2017 in­tro­duces the ap­point­ment of the Agency For Food Safety as the DAFF ap­pointed as­signee to in­spect abat­toirs, pro­duc­tion and pack­ag­ing plants un­der the Agri­cul­ture Prod­uct Stan­dards Act No. 119 of 1990. The in­spec­tions will be con­ducted at a fee to the farmer or owner. The pro­posed in­spec­tion fees are R0.0015 per egg (1.8 cents per dozen) at pro­duc­tion and pack­ag­ing plants and R0.015 per car­cass at abat­toirs, pro­duc­tion and pack­ag­ing plants. The no­tice fur­ther stip­u­lates rates per hour for ad­di­tional sites and well as travel time costs. Lab­o­ra­tory costs will also be passed on to the farmer or owner. Sim­i­lar no­tices have been pub­lished for other meats, veg­eta­bles, fruit and other com­modi­ties. The af­fected par­ties have un­til 17 March 2017 to sub­mit com­ments. Most com­modi­ties have al­ready sought le­gal opin­ions as to the le­gal­ity of the reg­u­la­tions, par­tic­u­larly since they were pub­lished with­out any stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion. SAPA has col­lected com­ments from the pro­duc­ers and these will be sub­mit­ted to DAFF. The in­ten­tion is to stop DAFF from putting the bur­den of in­spec­tions on the pro­duc­ers who are al­ready strug­gling to stay afloat.

Code of Prac­tice and SABS Wel­fare Stan­dards

The re­vi­sion of the SAPA COP is un­der­way as re­ported pre­vi­ously. The work has been com­pleted and it is now go­ing to be pre­sented to the mem­bers at the AGM for adop­tion. I wish to draw your at­ten­tion to the is­sue of the cage sizes, which will have a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions. I will take this op­por­tu­nity to pro­vide some back­ground as to how SAPA got in­volved with the SABS Wel­fare Stan­dards writ­ing team.

In 2015, we re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion from SABS to par­tic­i­pate in the stan­dards writ­ing process for poul­try. This was af­ter they had con­cluded writ­ing stan­dards for dairy, pigs and trans­porta­tion of an­i­mals. It was dur­ing this same time that SAPA de­cided to re­vise the COPS, as the cur­rent ver­sions were ap­proved in 2012. It was then agreed in the Broiler and Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tions that Alan would be best suited to re­vise the COPS, a decision that was en­dorsed by the board.

With re­gards to SABS, SAPA had the op­tion not to take part in the process, but rather to fo­cus on the re­vi­sion of the COPS. This was com­mu­ni­cated to SABS, with the knowl­edge that SABS would not be able to adopt the stan­dards with­out in­dus­try par­tic­i­pa­tion. How­ever, as the process en­sued, it was de­cided again in the or­gan­i­sa­tion com­mit­tees to par­tic­i­pate in the SABS process in or­der to in­flu­ence what is ul­ti­mately con­tained in the fi­nal stan­dards. I was then man­dated to rep­re­sent SAPA in the process. Mem­bers of SAPA were ap­proached by mem­bers of the SABS Wel­fare group to par­tic­i­pate. A let­ter also went out to all mem­bers en­cour­ag­ing them to send rep­re­sen­ta­tives to par­tic­i­pate in the SABS process.

The SAPA COPS were used as the source doc­u­ments. Af­ter a few meet­ings, it was de­cided with par­tic­i­pa­tion of in­dus­try mem­bers that us­ing 3 source doc­u­ments was mak­ing the process dif­fi­cult. A re­quest was sub­mit­ted to SAPA to rather com­bine the doc­u­ments into one in or­der to as­sist. The SABS process was sus­pended to allow for the con­sol­i­da­tion to hap­pen - all of this in con­sul­ta­tion with the COP com­mit­tee’s in­volve­ment. The process of re­vis­ing the COPS was also on the go with Alan and the COP com­mit­tee sourc­ing in­puts from the in­dus­try as the process de­vel­oped. This was chal­leng­ing as most in­dus­try mem­bers were not par­tic­i­pat­ing in the process.

It is im­por­tant to note that SABS is re­ly­ing on in­dus­try to de­velop stan­dards and that these will not be de­vel­oped with­out in­dus­try par­tic­i­pa­tion.

For this rea­son the SABS has put the process on hold un­til the Avi Africa congress, when the changes will be agreed by the in­dus­try and the re­vised COPS adopted. SABS will only re­sume our process af­ter Congress, af­ter which SAPA will still have to get in­put from af­fected stake­hold­ers be­fore fi­nal­is­ing such stan­dards. Once writ­ten, the pro­duc­ers will pay a fee to be able to use the stan­dards.

The is­sue of cage sizes, age at de­beaking, and long dis­tance trans­porta­tion are of great in­ter­est in wel­fare cir­cles. The COP com­mit­tee sug­gested in­creas­ing the bird space for hens in pro­duc­tion from 450 cm² to 550 cm² in line with the move made by some coun­tries. All these are rec­om­men­da­tions and in­dus­try can re­ject them. We do how­ever have to of­fer al­ter­na­tive sug­ges­tions on how we wish to pro­ceed. It is very likely that the mar­ket would ul­ti­mately be the driver of the changes and that pro­duc­ers will need to com­ply in or­der to stay in busi­ness. It is dif­fi­cult to guess when this will hap­pen as most South African cur­rently just need food they can af­ford.

SAPA is stay­ing very close to the process to en­sure the voice of the pro­duc­ers is heard. SABS value the in­dus­try’s in­put in the process and hence the use of our COP as the source doc­u­ment. Like SAPA, SABS and the NSPCA are also par­tic­i­pat­ing in the OIE Wel­fare groups, so it is likely their ac­tions will be greatly in­flu­enced by the OIE pro­cesses. We also be­lieve that the SABS stan­dards will be used by DAFF to write reg­u­la­tions on wel­fare (if they ever get around to it). Reg­u­la­tions are not ideal as they are not as flex­i­ble as the stan­dards. The stan­dards are also eas­ier to change than reg­u­la­tions.

SAPA has al­ways acted in the in­ter­est of the pro­ducer. It is im­por­tant to state at this point that these are rec­om­men­da­tions from the COP com­mit­tees and that you, as pro­duc­ers, have the fi­nal say on whether they are adopted or re­jected.¡

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