Mpumalanga Vendors Not Happy with Live Chicken Ban

SOUTH AFRICA - Some vendors of live chickens in Mpumalanga on Tuesday expressed shock and disappointment at the decision taken by the national department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to ban the sale of all live chickens throughout the country.
calendar icon 29 June 2017
clock icon 4 minute read

The ban was announced on Monday, after cases of contagious H5N8 avian bird flu was confirmed in Mpumalanga and the Free State.

According to SABC, the department said about 5000 birds died at a boiler breeder on an unnamed farm in Mpumalanga and the rest were culled.

Live chicken seller Solomon Khumalo, of Mathys Zyn Loop Village in Mpumalanga, says that he feared the ban would make him lose his business.

“I sell live chickens to support myself and my four children,” says Mr Khumalo.

“I have 700 live chickens now worth R35 000, which are old enough to be sold for a feast . I also spent R15 000 buying their feed. If the ban stands for about two weeks, that means I will not have to sell these chickens and will lose a lot of business. I think my chickens do not have that flu because I have my own special doctor who checks them up very often.”

Mr Khumalo’s business is situated on the side of the busy R573 road in the rural village.

He says he normally bought little chicks in Pretoria and bred them until they were old enough to be sold and slaughtered.

He says his customers included street vendors of live chickens, adding he hoped the ban would not make people scared of buying live chickens even if it was lifted in the future.

Some live chickens’ sellers in other villages said the ban came at the wrong time because many people in the former KwaNdebele area were buying live chickens on a large scale to slaughter them for feasts at ceremonies to welcome hundreds of men who returned from initiation schools.

Two street vendors of live chickens in Vezubuhle Village and at KwaMhlanga crossroads on Tuesday placed their chickens inside the safes on roads’ sides as usual, but sat about 300 metres away from them. They said they sat far away because they were “scared of the government” and only went to their chickens when they saw a potential customer.

Vendor Sibongile Mtshweni appealed to the government to lift the ban, saying it would affect her small business negatively.

“I don’t feel free when selling chickens today but I did not want to sit at home because I want make money for a living,” says Mr Mtshweni.

“I have already sold five chickens today. They are in high demand because parents of these young men who have graduated from initiation school buy them a lot. Many parents buy and slaughter them to prepare meals for people who attend their ceremonies, and who do not eat beef.”

Spokesperson for the department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bomikazi Molapo said on Tuesday a meeting would be held later in the afternoon in the department to decide the way forward regarding the ban of sale of live chickens.

“The situation will change but I will give you full details later after the meeting,” says Mr Molapo.

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