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Bird flu to cost WC poultry industry at least R800m

The overall economic impact is expected to increase significantly as many farms will lose income for a prolonged period due to quarantine restrictions.

FILE: Picture: freeimages.com.

CAPE TOWN - Bird flu is estimated to cost the Western Cape poultry industry at least R800 million in immediate production losses.

Two million birds have been culled in the province since the outbreak in June.

Thirty-six cases have been confirmed across the Western Cape.

The Western Cape Economic Opportunities Department says agricultural economists have started mapping the potential impact of the Avian Flu outbreak on jobs and food security.

The overall economic impact is expected to increase significantly as many farms will lose income for a prolonged period due to quarantine restrictions and the time it takes to return to full production.

Agricultural Economist Louw Pienaar says 1.2 million Western Cape households buy chicken and about 900,000 buy eggs.

“Poor households spend about 40% of their total income on food and a big proportion of their spending on animal protein goes into eggs and chicken meat. We’re quite concerned at this point on what the impact would be.”

A humanitarian relief plan is being drafted this week to support farming communities affected by job losses.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)