The rise in chicken imports to South Africa from Brazil is notable. They were up only slightly in March on a monthly basis, but are 55% higher than March last year.
An even stronger indication is given by the quarterly totals. Brazil imports for the first quarter are 23% above the volumes in the first three months of 2020. And total chicken imports from Brazil for the first three months – 79 940 tonnes – are the highest since the record imports year of 2018.
What’s happening is that Brazil, Argentina and the United States are increasing exports to South Africa to make up for the sharp drop-off in EU exports because of bird flu. Brazil did this after the 2016 bird flu outbreaks in Europe – it’s what propelled Brazil to the top of South Africa’s chicken imports list – and it’s doing it again.