If the disease con­tin­ues to spread short­ages may oc­cur

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - Sandile Mchunu

POUL­TRY pro­duc­ers on the JSE have proven to be re­silient in the midst of the avian in­fluenza out­break, but ex­perts warned that if the disease con­tin­ued to spread South Africans could ex­pect short­ages of chicken and prices to rise.

The share prices of these com­pa­nies have gained dur­ing this pe­riod.

As­tral Foods, the most af­fected by the out­break, has seen its share price gain­ing about 14.58 per­cent since the out­break was re­ported to­wards the end of June. The stock traded at R148 a share on the day of the out­break and by Fri­day the share price was trad­ing around the R155 level.

As­tral re­ported an out­break in one of its poul­try breed­ing farms in Vil­liers. De­spite ex­treme mea­sures taken to re­duce the risk of any fur­ther in­fec­tions on any other As­tral farms, a sec­ond out­break of highly path­o­genic avian in­fluenza H5N8 had been iso­lated and con­firmed on Au­gust 1 on a poul­try breed­ing fa­cil­ity called Welbe­dacht, out­side Stander­ton in Mpumalanga. This new out­break was com­pletely un­re­lated to the Vil­liers in­ci­dent.

“The spread of the in­fec­tion to all poul­try sheds on the Vil­liers farm was suc­cess­fully pre­vented, and al­though that farm re­mains un­der quar­an­tine no fur­ther sign of the disease has been de­tected amongst the re­main­ing poul­try stock on that farm,” the group said.

Three more poul­try pro­duc­ers also saw their share prices climb­ing after the out­break was re­ported. Pioneer Foods has been risen 3.99 per­cent, Sov­er­eign Food up 14.96 per­cent and Quan­tum Foods up 2.95 per­cent.

David Wolpert, the chief ex­ec­u­tive at the As­so­ci­a­tion of Meat Im­porters and Ex­porters of South Africa, said if the out­break con­tin­ued to spread, then South Africa could ex­pect short­ages of chicken, as well as price in­creases that might be steep.

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