With the country is battling highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) which has caused more than six million chickens to perish, South Africa is considering importing eggs from Kenya and other African countries amidst increased demand and prices for the product.
According to www.kenyans.co.ke, to avert the crisis, South Africa is processing import permits with a focus on table, fertilized, pasteurized, powder, and liquid eggs.
“We don’t dictate which countries should make business sense for South African retailers to import eggs from. “It does not matter for us which country importers apply to import eggs from for as long as we are satisfied with biosecurity matters in exporting countries, irrespective of whether that country is Kenya or the USA,” said the South African Land Reform and Rural Development department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.
For a while, South Africa has been importing eggs only from Argentina, Brazil, and the United States of America. The country’s poultry industry thus welcomed the move to expand trade partners as they see it as a preventive measure against the introduction of diseases to their shores. Ngcobo added that for the country to prepare for the December festive season, nine million fertilized eggs, 37,802 tons of day-old chicks, 62 tons of egg products, and 30,986 tons of poultry meat had to be imported.
The South African government has further urged its citizens not to panic as it is working on an adequate supply of the product in the country. Trade relations between Kenya and South Africa have historically been minimal. However, since President Ruto took over office, significant strides have been made to enhance trade between the two countries. In November 2022, Kenya’s President William Ruto and his counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, agreed to begin the exportation of meat products to the South African nation.
“Yesterday, we not only unlocked matters to do with travel, we eliminated barriers. We’ve had a 10-year ban on our meat products accessing the South African market. We have committed ourselves and yesterday in the evening we got a brief from the ministers concerned that by December this year, the 10-year ban on meat products will be lifted so that our commodities can access the South African market,” said the president.
However, South African exports to Kenya have been on the rise for the last 25 years, increasing at an annualized rate of 2.94%, from Ksh38 billion (USD249 million) in 1995 to 78 billion in 2020.