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Power cuts prompt farmers to cull around 10 million chicks in South Africa

Consistent blackouts in South Africa have left poultry farmers struggling with low production, processing backlogs and hardly any room for chicks, resulting in the unfortunate need to cull more than 10 million chicks within a matter of weeks

A series of erratic power cuts have left South African homes and businesses without electricity for more than 10 hours per day since December 2022. Farmers' groups fear that if the power crisis continues, the country would eventually be threatened with long-term food insecurity. State-owned power company Eskom however mentioned that in order to prevent a total grid collapse, power cuts would continue for at least another year. 

A report by VOA News mentioned that given the fall in production, South Africa would be likely to witness chicken shortage, accompanied by job losses, pushing the country's umployment rate to 33%. A farmers' meeting held on 13 January with Agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza prompted an agreement to appoint a task force on the issue this week.

Moreover, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa skipped his visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos to hold urgent meetings to address the power crisis. Despite these issues however, an 18% hike in power price has been announced by the government, with no clear picture regarding when these blackouts are expected to end.