Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile has pledged to support the poultry industry to recover from the bird flu outbreak.
MEC Maile today visited Rooikraal Arendes, one of the Gauteng farms hardest hit by the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8), to assess the situation and to engage with farm owners.
Speaking during his visit to the farm in Boksburg, MEC Maile said: “We want to put the poultry industry back into the path of progress so that it can continue to contribute to job creation in our province. We are extremely concerned about the potential job losses in the sector as a result of the bird flu outbreak.”There are currently thirteen confirmed cases of bird fluin Gauteng. Affected areas include Benoni, Vanderbijlpark, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni. The first outbreak of the avian influenza was detected in July 2017 in a poultry farm with three sites and a total of around 400 000 layer hens.
The Gauteng provincial government has already undertaken a number of measures to stamp out the devastating bird flu outbreak in the province.
A team of experts has been deployed in all the affected areas to promptly eliminate the disease and revive the poultry industry in the province. A total of 77 000 birdshave been culled and more than 2 million eggsobliterated in a bid to curb the spread of the bird flu.One farm in Germiston is currently under quarantine.
The provincial government is engaging the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to provide financial assistance to affected farms in the province.
MEC Maile commended the commercial poultry industry for their cooperation in addressing the outbreak in the affected areas.
“We are very thankful to our stakeholders for the cooperation thus far and as the provincial government, we undertake to intensify our efforts to contain the outbreak in our province,” MEC Maile said.
MEC Maile also dispelled concerns about the impact of the outbreak on food safety risk to consumers. The bird flu disease does not pose a food safety risk for consumers.
MEC Maile assured the public that the provincial government is closely monitoring reported cases of avian flu in the province. “We urge the public to remain calm but still be vigilant and report bird deaths to veterinary services,” he said.
Issued by Gauteng Provincial Government