The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries notes with concern media reports about the high number of birds culled in the Western Cape due to avian influenza. To date over two million birds have been culled or found dead since the outbreak.
Whilst the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has advised the Committee that it has strict control measures in place, the Committee remains concerned that the outbreak is spreading and increasingly a large number of birds have had to be culled. Thus far, five provinces are affected.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Rosina Semenya, said: “The poultry industry is severely hit, resulting in a shortage of birds and an increase in the price of poultry and eggs. This will affect the poor and we call on the national Department to work tirelessly with provincial authorities to curb the outbreak.”
The Minister has reassured the Committee that the Department is doing all it can to stem the outbreak and has engaged all stakeholders to put measures in place to keep farm poultry away from wild birds, which are the carriers of avian flu. The Committee urges the Department to work hard to find solutions to defeat this disease.
The Committee also reiterates its call to farmers to contact the Department if they are in need of assistance.
Issued by Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson, Machwene Semenya