Gauteng Smallholder October 2015 - Page 22

POULTRY From page 19 any new business. Firstly, ensure that a market for home-grown eggs exists in the area. Establish that not only are there enough people who will buy the eggs but there are enough who will be prepared to pay enough to ensure a profit. Remember also that the number of prospective egg buyers in a smallholding area will probably be fewer than in the suburbs because many ~ but by no means all ~ smallholders keep their own chickens for precisely that purpose. How one describes the eggs will affect what one can charge for them. Think about what you can offer and examine the terms that are bandied about when it comes to eggs. Can you describe your eggs as free range? This means eggs which are produced by poultry which are not caged and have daily access to an outdoor range area accessible through openings in the side of a barn. Do you want to run the gauntlet of “organic” requirements? Organic would imply that not only are the hens reared on pasture that has no pesticides etc, but in addition, the food given to them has been grown in pesticide-free conditions, without the addition of any chemicals, hormones or artificial additives. Few smallholders can live up to that. You will need to consider where you will sell your eggs. Will you take a stall at a regular farmer's market? Will you supply a store in your area? Will you simply set up a little stall outside your plot? Depending on your local bylaws each of these options may come with hindrances in the form of permits and licenses. Transport of the produce, and the cost of sales staff, should be factored in, or if you intend to do the selling yourself, the cost of your time. There is legislation governing the sale of eggs, in the form of the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990. The latest regulations regarding the grading, packing and marking of eggs destined for sale were published in 2011. No person shall sell eggs for human consumption in the Republic of South Africa, unless: K Eggs are sorted according 20 to size and grade, K Eggs comply with prescribed standards, K The container/outer container complies with specifications, K The container/outer container complies with the marking requirements, K The eggs sold in loose quantity comply with specifications , K Eggs do not contain any prohibited articles as per the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics & Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act No. 54 of 1972). Sizes range from Small, which is a minimum of 33g, to Super Jumbo, which is more than 72g. Eggs should be clean and have intact shells. The shell membrane may be slightly quivery. Eggs should be free of blood spots, absorbed odours, and any signs of embryo development or mould. There are tables which Continued on page 21