Local chicken producer takes care of vulnerable

Food security during lockdown is a burning issue in poverty stricken areas of South Africa, where the most vulnerable are now also cut off from regular means of income to provide for their families.

That is why poultry producer Country Bird Holdings (CBH) has stepped up its contributions to the communities in which it operates, and undertook to distribute five tons of Supreme Chicken (CBH brand) products to the community of Tigane in Hartbeesfontein, near Klerksdorp, over the month of lockdown.

CBH executives and staff visited Tigane last Thursday and hand-delivered around 2.7 tons of chicken to the community, ensuring that each household would have some meat for the pot. A similar trip the week before saw a ton of meat being distributed.

CBH processing director Arno Kietzmann said: “We normally provide meat to the schools in the area, but with schools closed due to the Covid- 19 pandemic, we realised that children who rely on the meals at school might be going hungry during the lockdown, and thus wanted to find an alternative means of getting food to people.”

According to Kietzmann, around 1000 people from the community are directly employed by the company at its adjacent Supreme Poultry abattoir, and another 200 local contractors deliver regular services t the production facility.

“CBH is the biggest single job creator in the area and the community relies on us as much as we rely on them. We know that the lockdown is presenting serious challenges for families, and it is important for us to reach out and help as much as we can.” Kietzmann said that the initiative was organised with the help of the ward councillor, Kagiso Piet Moena. “Mr Moena has worked closely with us to identify the best way to reach the most households in the available time.

We are part of this community and because it is a relatively small community we were able to take a hands-on approach, while still maintaining the prescribed safety measures,” said Kietzmann.

The company has production facilities in Mahikeng in the North West Province and Botshabelo in the Free State, where it has partnered with local soup kitchens that provide food to homeless and other vulnerable people.

“These communities are much larger than Tigane and the soup kitch- ens already have the infrastructure to prepare daily meals in large format. Providing meattothesesoupkitchens is an effective way for us to make a difference to the greatestnumber of people”, said Kietzmann.

This article was originally published in the Saturday Star on 18 April 2020.

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