The South African egg industry has been put under pressure by a series of events beyond its control.
Avian influenza, followed by feed and fuel price increases exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, and then rolling power outages have all taken their toll.
Nevertheless, the industry has continued to supply the market and competition from imports is not expected, according to Dr Abongile Balarane, general manager of the SA Poultry Association’s egg organisation.
“What allows producers to barely survive at the moment is their comparative advantage due to the egg industry’s efficient egg production,” he told Farmers Weekly.
“We’re confident that we’ll not see any imports of eggs into South Africa during these hard times,” he said.
The importance of eggs as a protein source was stressed by Dr Hester Vermeulen from the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP). She said eggs were the “gold standard” when it came to protein inclusion in a diet and, from a dietary perspective, South Africans should consume more eggs.
Ideally, a person should consume four eggs a week. The South African average was two eggs a week.
“Egg consumption varies greatly according to people’s socio-economic position,” she said. Only the most affluent 10% of people ate four eggs a week.
“Almost a third (30%) of South Africans consume less than two eggs per week, while 60% eat less than three eggs per week. “
She believed that with the rise in food prices, products such as polony, pilchards and eggs would become more appealing.