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Chicken importers should support local production

Another rebuke for chicken importers came from FairPlay founder Francois Baird, who reminded them they are committed to supporting master plan objectives such as a reduction in chicken imports and an overhaul of the import tariff system.

The reminder followed a statement by Ms Unati Spiers, head of the Emerging Black Importers and Exporters of South Africa (EBieSA). She opposed the tariff review ordered by Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel, and called for a halt to all tariff increases.

In a reply in Business Report, Baird pointed out that the major importers’ association, AMIE, had also signed the master plan and also opposed tariff increases and the latest application for anti-dumping duties.

“Reduced chicken imports will, of course, hit the pockets of chicken importers, but they don’t mention that,” Baird said. Responding to the suggestion that reduced imports would threaten food security, he said the real way to increase food security is to expand the local poultry industry as the master plan seeks to do, creating thousands of new South African jobs.

“Ms Spiers should be supporting that local growth, and in particular the planned increase in the numbers of small-scale black farmers who are job creators. Food security is achieved through local jobs and not marginally underpriced chicken imports, sometimes of dubious quality.

“Chicken imports have cost local jobs, and South Africa pays billions of rand every year to boost production and jobs in Brazil and the European Union. Ms Spiers should relook her priorities, and reread the poultry master plan that she signed,” Baird stated.

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