Media Release: New Head of Eggs at SA Poultry Association
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) last week welcomed a new General Manager of the Egg Organisation, when agricultural economist Dr Abongile Balarane stepped into the role at the head of the commodity board.
“I am excited about joining at such a challenging time for the poultry industry,” says Dr Balarane. “The current outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has put the industry as a whole, and SAPA and its Egg Organisation on high alert, and a comprehensive response plan is in place to ensure that everything possible is done to minimise the impact of the disease. We are taking this very seriously.” The layer industry bore the brunt of the disease during the previous HPAI outbreak in 2017, and it is hoped that valuable lessons learnt during that period will enable the industry to minimise the damage this year.
An economist by trade and training, Dr Balarane has worked in the agriculture sector for the past decade and has experience with policy advocacy and agribusiness development, and a keen understanding of the agricultural financial sector. He joined SAPA from the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) and his expertise in the grains and oilseeds industry is an asset in his new role. “The industry faces challenges with regards to rising costs of the major feed ingredients, and this will be an area I will focus attention on,” he says.
Dr Balarane was involved in implementation of agribusiness development programmes aimed at enabling the integration of smallholder farmers into the commercial mainstream. Earlier in his career he provided market analysis on agricultural commodities as an economic researcher at the Land Bank; and developed business plans for smallholder farmers to facilitate access to funding, as an agricultural advisor at the Northwest Department of Agriculture.
The ability to speak to farmers in their own language to share market access information is another valuable skill that Dr Balarane brings to the position – he speaks nine of South Africa’s official languages. He completed his PhD in Agricultural Economics in 2016 and has published and presented several research papers both on local and international platforms.
“I look forward to playing a role in the development of an egg industry master plan, which is currently in progress, to open market access for more producers across the country,” says Dr Balarane. “It is a privilege to be involved in an industry that provides so many South Africans with an affordable source of protein, and I hope to make a difference in helping to grow the sector through collaboration between industry role players and the relevant government departments.
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