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Brazil rules the roost

In the first half of 2021, Brazil accounted for nearly 70% of South Africa’s poultry imports, while only 8.3% came from the European Union. 

This is part of the see-saw between the two over the past decade and more. Official import figures show that the EU dominates when it is free of avian influenza.  Brazil steps in when South Africa’s bird flu bans cut exports from Europe, and retreats again when EU supplies resume.

The EU share of South African poultry imports rose from 2.2% in 2009 to 60% in November 2014 and 63% in November 2016. Then bird flu outbreaks cut the EU share to 14.6% in 2017 and 12.9% in 2018. 

Bird flu continues to sweep across Europe, and Spain is the only EU country currently licensed to export poultry to South Africa. As a result, in the first quarter of this year the EU contributed only 6% of South Africa’s poultry imports.

Brazil’s highest share was 77% in 2009, dropping to 41.9% in 2014. Since then, EU bird flu has allowed Brazil to dominate imports, reaching 61.3% in 2017, 62.7% in 2018 and 61.7% in the second half of last year. It then climbed to its current peak of 69.5% over the first six months of 2021.

With new outbreaks of bird flu in several EU countries in June and July this year, it looks like Brazil will rule the roost for some time to come, even though both Spain and Brazil are the subject of anti-dumping investigations.