M embership, levies, code of practice and transformation
Avi Africa 2017 is upon us. As we reflect on the past year, we do so with somewhat of a sense of relief that things seem to be on the up-turn. 2016 Was a very difficult year for most producers, what with very high feed prices, record level imports and a difficult economic environment for the whole of South Africa. The farming community is known for its tenacity and staying power, and for being able to survive under very difficult circumstances. My hope is
Tthat most of the farmers have made it to 2017 and will for the better part of this year, focus on getting back on their feet and back on the road to recovery.
In 2016 and the first part of 2017, we spent most of the egg liaison and transformation efforts on the following issues:
his has been a very difficult task as most of the SAPA members have somewhat decided that they do not need a representative body to speak on their behalf. However, you would have noticed that most stakeholders, particularly government departments, do not engage with individuals but rather prefer engaging through representative bodies. To this end, government has continued to use SAPA as a vehicle towards achieving most of their goals within the poultry industry.
SAPA understands the need to have most producers being inside the stable rather than outside. As such, we have continued to campaign and engage with producers to entice them to rejoin the association. We are confident that if we continue with the drive to recruit members, we will soon realize the desired outcomes. SAPA belongs to its members, and the activities that the secretariat embark on are determined by the members. Therefore, if the SAPA employees are not focusing on the right activities, the members have every right to change the direction of their focus.
Improving the financial state of the Egg Organisation
Since the end of the statutory levy, SAPA has been financed by voluntary contributions from its members. Since the membership has shrunk significantly, the contributions have been insufficient to cover the basic functions for the members. SAPA therefore embarked on a cost saving exercise and only the very basic activities were undertaken. SAPA continues to provide statistics, diseases management, training, government and other stakeholder liaisons and many other services to its members. This however is not sustainable and sooner or later the Egg Organization members will have to make some very tough decisions.
It is for this reason that SAPA approached the National Agriculture Marketing Council (NAMC) to establish whether it was feasible to apply for an egg only levy. The NAMC agreed to the request, however, they still require that SAPA demonstrate the level of the support that will be convincing to the minister to grant such a request. The required minimum is 66% of the hen population. We urge producers to support the levy so that SAPA can continue to speak and act on your behalf.
Revision of the Code of Practice
The SAPA board mandated a small committee to review and update the Code of Conduct. At the same time, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) set up a Welfare Standards committee to write the welfare codes for poultry. The SABS committee were using the SAPA Code of Practice as the source document for the standards. Two sections were of significance to the egg producers, namely the cage sizes and beak trimming.
Beak trimming turned out not to be an issue, as all chick producers trim the beaks at lower than ten days. However, the cage sizes matter remains a critical→