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Fowl squabbles end as South Africa unites

Leaders of the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) have agreed to end division within its ranks to battle industry-wide problems of dumped chicken imports and disease outbreaks.

SAPA stakeholders represent 80% of the industry and have adopted a united front to tackle the country’s first-ever outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian strain H5N8. Efforts will also be channelled into an ongoing fight against the perceived flood of Brazilian and EU poultry that SAPA called a “major concern?”.

It is unclear what “differences?” have been set aside by SAPA, but a special stakeholder meeting was held in Johannesburg recently to “address the issues?”.

At the meeting, a resolution to end internal squabbles was agreed by all of the country’s major chicken producers. This includes Astral, RCL Foods, Country Bird Holdings, Daybreak Farms, Chubby Chicks and Grain Field Chickens, as well as the Egg Organisation.

Drought hits livestock numbers?

There clearly appears to have been disagreements between rival meat companies which, of course, should be expected in a competitive free market economy. But facing threats on multiple fronts, firms have been forced to collaborate on non-competitive issues hampering industry-wide profits.

South Africa has faced a crippling drought in the country’s Western Cape which declared a disaster after the worst water shortages in over 100 years. This massively depleted the country’s livestock count after thousands of animals died.

A recently improved maize harvests has lowered feed costs to give firms breathing space as they rebuild their herds and flocks. But this is doing respite as the industry fears contraction in the poultry industry as Brazil and Europe allegedly continue dump huge volumes of unwanted chicken parts in the country.

SAPA is worried more jobs could be lost as chicken factories close down. As it aims to tackle poultry import dumping, SAPA is working with government and veterinary health departments to eradicate a bird flu outbreak that has already seen hundreds of thousands of chickens culled.

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By Oscar Rousseau
First published in GlobalMeatNews.com on 02 October 2017

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