Chicken Industry

A job-creating master plan

The poultry master plan has created nearly 1 300 jobs over the past 18 months, helping to counter the massive nationwide job losses due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Job creation is a key aspect of the master plan, and progress was highlighted in a recent article in Business Report.

The plan aims to curtail chicken imports while stimulating local demand and production over three years, resulting in increased supply for both the local and export markets.

Some of the additional local production has already happened. The industry has invested most of the R1.5 billion to which it committed, raising production by more than a million birds per week. The master plan target is an additional 1.7 million birds per week by the end of 2023.

The result, during a period of coronavirus lockdowns and massive job losses across the country, has been the creation of 1 298 jobs.

There’s a lot more to come. The master plan aims to create nearly 5 000 jobs – 3 600 in increased chicken production, 300 in the grain industry supplying additional feed, and a further 1 000 by the establishment of 50 new commercial scale contract farmers.

Izaak Breitenbach of the SA Poultry Association told Business Report that successful implementation of the master plan would raise the poultry sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from R48 billion in 2019 to R54 billion in 2022.

Many areas of master plan implementation have, however, been delayed by the economic impact of the coronavirus. Among these are concerted action against illegal imports by the revenue authorities and a requirement that government departments and state-owned entities use local chicken for their catering.

One area where there has been almost no progress is chicken exports, which remain a tiny proportion of local production. The boost foreseen in the master plan has so far not happened.