South Africa’s Largest Poultry Producer Culls 410,000 Birds due to Avian Flu Outbreak

South Africa’s poultry unit Rainbow, a subsidiary of RCL Foods, has culled 410,000 chickens as a result of the country’s worst outbreak of avian flu. This has raised concerns about potential shortages of chicken meat and eggs. The outbreak, known as Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), is a highly contagious bird flu that spreads rapidly within infected flocks and leads to a high death rate.

The impact of the avian flu outbreak is already being felt in the country, with a decrease in table egg supplies. Producers have also warned of potential shortages of chicken meat in the coming weeks. Rainbow is one of South Africa’s largest chicken producers, supplying retailers and fast food businesses.

According to RCL Foods, the culling of 410,000 birds has resulted in an estimated financial impact of 115 million rand ($5.99 million). While the company is making efforts to prevent supply disruptions, there is tension in the supply chain. In response to the outbreak, neighboring Namibia has suspended poultry imports from South Africa.

However, it is important to note that South Africa exports only between 1% and 2% of its poultry production. Therefore, the impact on international markets may be limited. The avian flu outbreak comes at a difficult time for the poultry sector in South Africa, which is already dealing with the country’s electricity crisis and rising costs.

– Nelson Banya, Reuters