After last week’s criticism of the lack of progress on developing poultry exports, FairPlay is pleased to note an announcement by Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza of a task team which could pave the way for the health certificates needed for the export of uncooked poultry meat.
Health certificates are one of the issues holding up exports of premium-priced breast meat to the European Union. The lack of state veterinary staff and facilities to produce the certificates on which the EU insists was identified in the poultry sector master plan.
There has been discussion of a public-private partnership (PPP) between government and the poultry industry to fund the facilities.
Without mentioning exports, Minister Didiza has announced the appointment of an expert task team to look into forming just such a partnership to tackle issues related to animal biosecurity. There will be a special emphasis on foot and mouth disease, African swine fever and highly pathogenic avian influenza (bird flu).
She is looking for recommendations on “a collaborative initiative between government and private sector through a public private partnership (PPP) can be established to tackle the country’s animal biosecurity measures,” a departmental statement says.
“It will consider the roles of provincial government laboratories and private sector laboratories in disease monitoring, residue tests, meat hygiene with emphasis on all stakeholders’ consideration,” the statement says.
These are all issues in export health certification. There’s still a long way to go, but this is an essential first step if South Africa is to export poultry to the EU in years to come.
Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza at a media briefing in 2019. Photo: GCIS