Today (2 October 2017), Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and the Western Cape Government team driving the avian influenza recovery plan, briefed the media on the regional outbreak of avian influenza in the province.

Highlights include:

  • 36 cases confirmed
  • 70 ostrich farms under quarantine
  • In excess of 2 million birds have died or been culled
  • Early estimates project R800 million in immediate production losses to industry
  • A Humanitarian Relief plan is being drafted this week to support farming communities affected by the outbreak
  • Monitoring system in place to mitigate environmental impact

Please see the full media statement below:

The Western Cape Government has initiated a province-wide recovery plan to combat the impact of the avian influenza outbreak on agriculture.

To date, 2 million birds have been culled and immediate production losses of more than R800 million are projected.

Today (2 October 2017), Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, and the Western Cape Government team driving the response plan, hosted a media briefing on the status of the disease in the province.

In response to this outbreak, which is the first of its kind in South Africa, the Western Cape Government has convened a Joint Operations Centre (JOC).

The JOC is being headed by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture, the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

Minister Winde said: “The Western Cape is the worst affected province in South Africa. In some regions, poultry production farms are clustered in a specific area. In other provinces, cases have occurred at locations far removed from these hubs.

“In the Western Cape, the outbreak has hit the Paardeberg area, the region with the highest concentration of poultry farms.”

Anton Bredell, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Local Government and Development Planning, said the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) is assisting the Department of Agriculture (DOA) with the coordination of steps to mitigate the effects of the avian influenza outbreak.

“The PDMC is also in constant communication with the National Disaster Management centre and DAFF.”

Bredell said the PDMC has established a working committee that includes representatives from all the departments that could play a role in effectively managing the crisis, including the National Departments of Labour, Social Development, SASSA, Environmental Affairs, Economic Development, and others.

“A big part of what we’re busy with currently includes looking after the wellbeing of affected farmworkers. In this regard, the departments of Social Development together with DOA are leading the process. SASSA and Labour are also on board. In addition, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Waste Management Unit is ensuring the safe disposal of carcasses on affected farms. These are some of the major initiatives at the moment.”

The JOC has initiated the following measures:

  • Requested the National Disaster Management Centre’s guidance to potentially declare the outbreak a provincial disaster;
  • Facilitating access to financial and training schemes for workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the outbreak;
  • The industry is liaising with the National Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Agriculture on vaccination; 
  • Agricultural economists have started mapping the potential impact of the outbreak on jobs and food security 

 The JOC meets weekly to share updates in the following key areas.

Economic impact

Lead: Department of Agriculture/Department of Economic Development and Tourism

  • Agricultural economists have started mapping the potential economic impact of the AI outbreak, and the Department of Agriculture is engaging industry and experts to provide further insights;   
  • Such an assessment is normally done only after the impacts of a disaster are fully realised. At this stage, due to the complexity and dynamics of the current situation, economists have high level estimates of the possible economic impact. These scenarios depend heavily on the specific assumptions made and how the situation will unfold in the coming weeks;
  • A conservative estimate puts the immediate cost of production losses of both hens and eggs in the region of R800 million, not counting additional costs of labour and materials to do composting;
  • The overall economic impact will be more significant as many of the farms will lose income for a prolonged period due to quarantine restrictions and time taken to get back to full production, with an anticipated impact on jobs;
  • In terms of egg prices, moderate increases in the short term are projected, which could likely return to normal levels relatively quickly. This is of concern as more than 900 000 households buy eggs in the province and another 1.2 million households buy chicken meat - the main animal protein source for the majority of poor households.

Environmental mitigation steps

Lead: Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP)

  • A monitoring system was put in place to deal with the environmental impacts of the treatment or disposal of the dead birds. This was done in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and national Environmental Affairs and municipalities. The emergency procedures in Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 is utilised to authorise the management option chosen by the owner of the farm/business; 
  • The procedure, a form to be completed by the farm and submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, allows for the monitoring of the biosecurity by DOA and the environmental impacts by the DEADP in collaboration with the municipalities in the affected area.

Projected socio economic impact

Lead: Department of Social Development (DSD)

  • The loss of jobs could lead to further pressure on the families of the affected farm workers. This could have a further impact on poverty and hunger, and substance abuse;
  • DSD will work closely with the Department of Agriculture and the South African Social Security Agency, doing assessments of affected families, so that they can be linked to social relief benefits;
  • A Humanitarian Relief Plan for the affected farming community will be drafted this week, in partnership with the relevant departments.

Update on latest cases

After a case is confirmed by positive lab tests, it is reported to the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

DAFF officially notifies the OIE (also known as the World Organisation for Animal Health) as well as our trading partners. The OIE then notifies its 71 member countries, so they may put preventative measures in place. 

In respect of the 36 confirmed cases, the formal notification process has been concluded, and the below cases can therefore be made public.

 

District

Species Group

Species

1

Central Karoo

Backyard/hobby birds

Chicken

2

West Coast

Backyard/hobby birds

Geese, chickens

3

West Coast

Backyard/hobby birds

Geese, chickens

4

City of Cape Town

Backyard/hobby birds

Swans

5

West Coast

Backyard/hobby birds

Chicken, duck, turkey

6

West Coast

Backyard/hobby birds

Chicken

7

West Coast

Backyard/hobby birds

Geese

8

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

9

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

10

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

11

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

12

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

13

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

14

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

15

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

16

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

17

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

18

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

19

Eden

Commercial ostriches

Ostriches

20

City of Cape Town

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

21

Cape Winelands

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

22

Cape Winelands

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

23

West Coast

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

24

City of Cape Town

Commercial poultry

Ducks

25

City of Cape Town

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

26

City of Cape Town

Commercial poultry

Ducks

27

City of Cape Town

Commercial poultry

Layer chickens

28

West Coast

Commercial poultry

Broiler breeder chickens

29

Cape Winelands

Wild bird

Peregrine falcon

30

Overberg

Wild bird

Guinea fowl

31

Cape Winelands

Wild bird

Laughing dove

32

Eden

Wild bird

Rock pigeon, Spur-winged goose

33

Eden

Wild bird

Guinea fowl

34

Eden

Wild bird

Blue crane

35

Overberg

Wild bird

Guinea fowl

36

West Coast

Wild bird

House sparrow

 

Please see a graphic of the confirmed cases here.


Bronwynne Jooste

Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town

Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301
Email: bronwynne.jooste@westerncape.gov.za
Website: www.elsenburg.com
Twitter: bronwynnejooste