Ostrich farmers want to resume exports

The Agriculture Department wants government to relax laws for farmers who export ostrich meat.

Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Agriculture Department wants national government to relax a new set of regulations for farmers who export ostrich meat.

The rules were imposed by the European Union (EU) following an outbreak of avian influenza in Oudtshoorn over a year ago.

The European body suspended imports from South Africa.

The national Agriculture Ministry has enforced the new rules.

But the Western Cape Agriculture Department has argued that some ostrich farmers, who comply with regulations, should be allowed to resume exports.

Spokesperson Wouter Kriel said the new regulations take too long to implement across the industry.

In the meantime, there is some hope for ostrich farmers.

An Oudtshoorn-based company recently secured an export deal with Germany after it found it can, in fact, export ostrich meat which has been pre-cooked for three seconds at a specific temperature.

More than 70 percent of the ostrich industry was affected by the ban and thousands of birds were culled.