While time and money are running out farmers can only wait for the lifting of a European ban on exported ostrich meat.
Last April the H5N2 bird flu virus broke out in the Western Cape, which caused the decreasing amount of registered farmers with the SA Ostrich Business Chamber (SAOBC). The SAOBC interim chief Piet Kleyn explains, “This [number] has reduced significantly in the past few months, with the European Union (EU) export ban being a main driver, as it’s no longer profitable.”
Compensation of R50-million to farmers has been provided by the national government, as the European Union was an important market for these farmers as it imported 90% of the South African ostrich meat, however, some have been forced to close down farms or survive on a limited flock.
However, the ban has led to an R108-million loss each month in export revenue and up to 20 000 job opportunities are now at risk.
The agriculture department will only lift the ban when the industry has been restructured according to recommendations from a EU delegation. All farmers must re-register their businesses and follow certain regulations prior to re-entering the exporting market.
However, some worries the process may take up to one year and fear the market will collapse by then.
Source: Mail & Guardian