South African farmers have said the damaging effect of the bird flu outbreak is being exacerbated by the delay in compensation by the government.
Gawie Rossouw, general manager of Eggbert Eggs in Gauteng province said that 525,000 birds had been culled at its farms, which were valued at R27.5m (€1.73m) in July. At the time, more than 470,000 eggs were dumped amounting to R5.6m (€350,000).
Mr Rossouw said the total loss to Eggbert was higher – R34.5m (€2.2m) and that around R31.8m (€2m) was needed to restock, meaning that R65m (€4.2m) was needed to cover the losses and get the business properly operational.
Compensation has been sought from the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) since July but nothing has been forthcoming.
Charles Le Maitre, CEO of Kuipers Group, said the current situation was disastrous: “We basically lost our livelihood. It is very important for us to resuscitate the operation to get it back in production,” he told South African’s News24.
Meanwhile, the situation in Western Cape continues to worsen with the number of confirmed cases rising to 50. At least 2.5m chickens and ducks have been culled in the province.
The South African Poultry Association says that at least 8 out of 10 egg producers in the Western Cape have now been affected by bird flu.
Alan Winde, Cape Town Economic Opportunities Minister, said talks were taking place with DAFF: “We’re negotiating with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries about the possible compensation and how we can deal with this disease, particularly the inoculation process.”
In a statement to media on Thursday (12 October), Mr Winde said the disease was spreading rapidly despite increased control measures. As a result, the Western Cape Government had convened a Joint Operations Centre to take steps to mitigate the effects of the outbreak.