Thousands of jobs on the line

The Citizen reports that with thousands of jobs on the line, the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) is anxious that the industry “may never recover” from the highly pathogenic H5N8 strain of bird flu currently gripping the country. The devastating outbreak has already resulted in losses of R800 million for affected farms, which have been forced to cull a countless number of egg producing chickens.  Sapa’s Dr Charlotte Nkuna said:  “In 2016, the total number of people employed by the industry and associated industries was about 132,000.

Over 1,000 jobs have been affected directly by the outbreak.  We expect the numbers to grow once the impact cascades to secondary industries.”  Bird flu is currently spread along Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Free State provinces.  “Our estimate is that over 4 million birds have been or are in the process of being culled,” Nkuna indicated.  Speaking about affected producers, Nkuna pointed to financial assistance being necessary for recovery of farms.

by Yadhana Jadoo