The avian influenza outbreak has forced South African retailers to implement egg purchase limits. Major retailers Woolworths and Pick n Pay are among those who have put measures in place to manage the situation. The avian influenza outbreak is considered the worst in history, posing significant egg production and distribution challenges.
Woolworths recently announced that it has temporarily restricted egg purchases to six eggs per customer in its stores. This decision comes as they grapple with significant supply difficulties, especially in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Woolworths is working closely with its farmers to restore a stable supply of eggs as quickly as possible. They thank customers for their patience during this challenging period. They are actively communicating these restrictions across all their retail channels.
Similarly, Pick n Pay has urged customers to shop responsibly. It implements region-specific limits on egg purchases, typically one to two egg packs per customer. They collaborate closely with their suppliers to manage stock effectively and support stores in areas where suppliers have been impacted.
In contrast, South Africa’s largest retailer, Shoprite, has not imposed egg rationing measures.
Acknowledging the severity of the avian influenza crisis, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, has engaged with retailers to discuss its implications. Her department recognises that the primary challenge lies in egg production, with supply constraints affecting specific regions.
To address this challenge, the minister is focusing on measures to enhance the availability of eggs in the market while containing the spread of the disease. This action includes streamlining the issuance of import permits for egg products to ensure an adequate supply for consumers.
Additionally, Minister Didiza and the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, are exploring trade instruments to facilitate the supply of chicken meat in the broiler segment of the poultry sector. These measures aim to address the current challenges posed by the avian influenza outbreak and provide short-term and long-term solutions for managing such outbreaks, including vaccination.
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