From the DESK

The Poultry Bulletin - - FROM THE DESK -

Egg mat­ters, trade and the trans­for­ma­tion im­per­a­tive

Most of you will read this at Avi Africa. Wel­come to all that are here. To those not at Avi Africa, we hope to see you next year. We’ve changed the pro­gramme a bit to try make the event more ap­peal­ing for mem­bers. Please do give us your feed­back.

At this year’s event we will be re­mem­ber­ing a num­ber of in­dus­try stal­warts who have left us in the last year. I hope you can all take a mo­ment to re­mem­ber those that you knew best.

Egg mat­ters

At the time of writ­ing this let­ter, we still had to hold the promised Code of Prac­tice meet­ings with egg pro­duc­ers. Those of you at Avi Africa will know the out­come from the de­ci­sions made at Congress; for the rest of you we will re­port next month if the new Code of Prac­tice, for both broiler and layer pro­duc­tion, will be in force this year.

We will also be re­port­ing on the res­o­lu­tion made by the Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tion, and then by Congress, on the fu­ture of the Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tion. It is per­haps worth ex­plain­ing that sub­sidiaries can­not leave SAPA; mem­bers can leave. For as long as there are three or more mem­bers of one of the sub­sidiaries, they are valid or­gan­i­sa­tions in terms of South African law. Whether it’s sen­si­ble to keep the or­gan­i­sa­tions go­ing is a mat­ter for the re­spec­tive or­gan­i­sa­tion and for SAPA it­self to de­cide. As it is only SAPA it­self that has le­gal stand­ing in terms of our law, it’s SAPA that suf­fers the ef­fects of the cur­rent short­fall in mem­ber­ship fees to cover Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tion ac­tiv­i­ties. It is also worth not­ing that the le­gally as­signed role of SAPA as a Breed So­ci­ety would re­main even if the Egg Or­gan­i­sa­tion was dis­solved.

Task team

The govern­ment-led task team met again in May and will meet in early June. The plans are start­ing to get to the more de­tailed stage. At both the DAFF and dti bud­get hear­ings in Par­lia­ment, there was no spe­cific men­tion of di­rect bud­get sup­port. Both de­part­ments do have

al­lo­ca­tions for agro-pro­cess­ing and pro­duc­tion sup­port. We will need to un­pick the de­tails of these of­fers of sup­port in the next month or so.

Trade

This has been a busy month with the IPC meet­ing in Colom­bia and trade vis­its to Iran and the UAE. In all three cases, trade is­sues were at the fore­front of dis­cus­sions. The EU does seem keen to ac­cel­er­ate ac­cess to their mar­ket if we do not close our mar­ket to them for their leg quar­ter waste. There are a cou­ple of dif­fi­cul­ties we have to over­come. The first is that it is hard for us to un­der­stand why fair trade ex­ports by us should equate to waste dis­posal by them? I think we can find an an­swer that might work for both par­ties if we can have com­fort that what­ever vol­ume of their waste is able to be tol­er­ated by us can be lim­ited in a guar­an­teed way. The safe­guard will first have to come into ef­fect be­fore we can fi­nalise EU ac­cess. This fi­nal safe­guard is likely to be gazetted later than we ex­pected, as it seems as if ITAC have had to do fur­ther data work which the EU and oth­ers have to be able to com­ment on be­fore Min­is­ter Davies can act. Min­is­ter Davies was quite clear in Par­lia­ment that he ac­cepts that the cur­rent 13,9% is not an ad­e­quate safe­guard and that he awaits the ad­vice of ITAC be­fore he can con­sider in­creas­ing the cur­rent level to a more ef­fec­tive level.

When it comes to the Mid­dle East­ern coun­tries we are work­ing on un­block­ing some of the SPS type is­sues and I am pos­i­tive that our ac­cess will im­prove over the next year or so.

SARS pub­lished their in­ten­tion to add a new sub tar­iff line for im­ports – a mixed por­tion line - which we do not think will be of as­sis­tance to SARS for its pur­poses. We have made sub­mis­sions to SARS in this re­gard and will keep you posted.

We have also re­sponded to some of the com­ments by in­ter­ested par­ties on the USA anti-dump­ing sun­set re­view. It seems we will only be re­spond­ing to com­ments from im­porters as no US sub­mis­sions were on the pub­lic file as at the date of writ­ing this let­ter.

Trans­for­ma­tion

While at­tend­ing both the dti and DAFF bud­get votes in Par­lia­ment it was in­ter­est­ing to note the way the var­i­ous par­ties un­der­stand trans­for­ma­tion. Now, be­ing a bit of a stick­ler for the proper use of lan­guage, it should be clear to all that the word trans­for­ma­tion means a fun­da­men­tal type of change. There is no need to use the term ‘rad­i­cal’ as rad­i­cal change usu­ally means de­struc­tion and our con­sti­tu­tional im­per­a­tive is for real change that does not de­stroy but rather cre­ates. Dis­rup­tion with­out de­struc­tion should be our hash­tag. Whoso­ever runs our coun­try, they will all be obliged to trans­form the coun­try. Which brings me to my next beef - the word eco­nomic in the slo­gan ‘rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion’ is in­ap­pro­pri­ate. Our con­sti­tu­tion re­quires us to change the nature of so­ci­ety. It does not help to sim­ply re­dis­tribute an ex­ist­ing sys­tem – we are obliged to cre­ate a more in­clu­sive sys­tem for South Africa that is both more in­clu­sive and which leads to eco­nomic growth. What are your plans in this re­gard?

Lis­ten­ing to the some­times heated de­bates, one re­alised that we lack lead­er­ship. As a de­vel­op­ing coun­try, we need lead­ers who will take us by the hand and give us rea­son to be­lieve in hope. Then we need a govern­ment that opens the doors of hope so that busi­nesses who own the levers of hope will want to use those levers for their own gain and for the ben­e­fit of the broader so­ci­ety. All three par­ties need to work to­gether for change. Else we are talk­ing about noth­ing more than rent seek­ing.

A num­ber of the op­po­si­tion par­ties made men­tion of our in­dus­try in the two de­bates and Min­is­ter Davies was clear in his re­sponse to the com­ments from the other par­ties that govern­ment will do all it can to en­sure that we do not col­lapse com­pletely. We thank him for his com­mit­ment to us. It was also clear to me that at least some of the op­po­si­tion par­ties un­der­stand the won­der­ful trans­for­ma­tion op­por­tu­nity that ex­ists if we can stop chicken dump­ing and get eggs on school feed­ing scheme menus.

If it wasn’t clear to read­ers be­fore, the key im­pact of dump­ing is that the EU is op­press­ing our peo­ple and hold­ing back the de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try so that they can con­tinue to ben­e­fit from→

their colo­nial-era busi­ness prac­tices. We are their mar­ket and they see this as a right. Abuse by a new name.

As­signees

We have con­tin­ued with our work to find a so­lu­tion to the as­signee cost prob­lems. The scheme is meant to come into ef­fect on 1 June and in its cur­rent form it is likely to lead to le­gal ac­tion. I hope that we can ob­vi­ate such a course of ac­tion although what­ever I write now will be over­taken by events that you will all know about long be­fore you read this. The prin­ci­ple of pay­ing fairly for a real and needed ser­vice is not the prob­lem; it is the in­voic­ing mode and the ex­tent of the mon­i­tor­ing that are prob­lem­atic.

Avian In­fluenza

Avian in­fluenza was an im­por­tant is­sue dis­cussed at the re­cent OIE Gen­eral Ses­sion. With well over 1 000 out­breaks in poul­try in Europe this last sea­son (Europe in the broader sense, not only the EU) and well over 1 600 out­breaks in wild birds within Europe over the same pe­riod, it is clear that Europe is un­der sus­tained at­tack from this dis­ease. This will lead to long term in­se­cu­rity in the sup­ply of breed­ing stock if we don’t get more breed­ers to form com­part­ment sys­tems that vet­eri­nary author­i­ties in des­ti­na­tion coun­tries can ac­cept. It also means that the like­li­hood of Europe hav­ing a res­i­dent pop­u­la­tion of AI through­out the year is height­ened i.e. this dis­ease might well no longer be sea­sonal, orig­i­nat­ing in Asia with mi­grat­ing wild birds, and rather be con­tin­u­ally cir­cu­lat­ing within Europe. Even if this does come to pass, the risk of trans­mis­sion will still have sea­sonal peaks with the trig­ger for an out­break now eas­ier to re­lease.

So what does this mean to us? Well the most im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is that strong calls for a weak­en­ing of stan­dards to fa­cil­i­tate trade might be forced on us. There are calls to no longer re­port LPAI as some coun­tries use the pres­ence of LPAI to im­pose trade re­stric­tions. Now the OIE stan­dards can be in­ter­preted to al­low for LPAI based trade bans, and from a sci­en­tific per­spec­tive, the trans­mis­sion of LPAI from birds to fer­rets (the stan­dard test an­i­mal for the dis­ease) does take place in a lab­o­ra­tory en­vi­ron­ment.

So there is some risk, although it is much re­duced, as the key dis­tinc­tion be­tween LPAI and HPAI within poul­try is that HPAI is repli­cat­ing within the or­gans of the bird whereas LPAI is merely cir­cu­lat­ing and, to a lesser ex­tent, repli­cat­ing in the tis­sue flu­ids of the bird. Since most out­breaks come from LPAI which tran­si­tion to HPAI, we should not un­der­es­ti­mate the risk, and non-re­port­ing of LPAI is very un­wise. We’ll be act­ing in your best in­ter­ests in this re­gard as the po­lit­i­cal pres­sure on the OIE is ramped up.

The poul­try den­sity in Europe and some parts of the USA will make for higher risk sta­tus to be al­most per­ma­nent. The preva­lence of free range and or­ganic flocks in some Eu­ro­pean coun­tries will also add to the risk pro­file. I am sure that many of you know that free range flocks in the Nether­lands have been shown to have a 13 to 15 times higher like­li­hood of dis­ease trans­mis­sion than con­ven­tion­ally farmed birds. Now the Nether­lands is an out­lier when it comes to poul­try den­sity so please do not take this to mean that the same risk pro­file ap­plies to South Africa, although the risk will also be higher than for con­ven­tion­ally farmed birds

Gen­eral

Last month we bid farewell to Ron­ald Ram­ab­u­lana who has left the ser­vice of the NAMC. Un­der his lead­er­ship, the NAMC has pro­vided an in­de­pen­dent view of many of the is­sues fac­ing agri­cul­ture. I do hope that his suc­ces­sor car­ries this good work for­ward.

At NAMPO last month, the Fair Play move­ment had a pub­lic ses­sion which seemed to have gone down well with the au­di­ence. It is go­ing to be so hard to put enough pres­sure on the de­vel­oped world that they con­sider it nec­es­sary to be­have prop­erly in their deal­ings with the de­vel­op­ing world.

We have been re­quested to at­tend the DAFF quar­terly re­view ses­sion at the end of May and the be­gin­ning of June. While it is to be sup­ported that we are part of such re­views it is not go­ing to be worth much if we can­not have our views in­cluded in fu­ture plans.

Re­gards un­til next month, Kevin Lovell, CEO.¡

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