Egg stock levels in South Africa are replenishing steadily, and the government is continuing to process import permit applications for products to ensure sufficient supplies ahead of the festive season.
This follows the recent outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that led to egg shortages in some parts of the country after 7.5 million chickens had to be culled to curb the spread of the disease.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) said in a statement on Thursday that it has a few open import permits for eggs and poultry products from several countries.
It added that the importation of table eggs, fertilised eggs, pasteurised eggs, egg powder and liquid eggs has been ongoing for many years.
“Countries including Brazil, USA and Argentina have been exporting eggs to South Africa for quite some time, and the department is currently processing import permit applications from a few more countries,” the DALRRD said.
“The department does not dictate which countries should make business sense for South African retailers to import eggs from. It only ensures that biosecurity risk assessments are conducted when importers apply for import permits.”
Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza said the HPAI outbreak is under control, and 70% of farms that were not infected continue to produce eggs and chickens.
“Since the egg production cycle is not too long, we expect the situation to normalise early next year.
“We will continue to import more eggs should the situation not improve,” Didiza said.
The department said South Africa had imported nine million fertilised eggs, 37 802 tonnes of day-old chicks, 62 tonnes of egg products and 30 986 tonnes of poultry meat ahead of the festive season.
“We have increased fertilised eggs from 1.9 million to nine million in less than one month.
These eggs will be chickens in less than four months,” Didiza said.