Chicken Industry

Call for grain to fight chickens’ corner

This article first appeared in the Southern Post. 1 September 2019.

Nampo has a reputation for attracting interesting visitors, and none more so than advocates against chicken dumping at this year’s Nampo Cape.

FairPlay is a not-for-profit movement that works to end predatory international trade practices. Its ultimate aim is to preserve and create jobs in domestic industries, and at the moment its focus is the chicken industry.

The movement’s founder, Francois Baird, and its programme director, Danie Kok, are in Bredasdorp on a very specific mission. “Chicken dumping, mainly from Brazil and increasingly again from the European Union, is strangling the life out of our local industry,” explains Baird. “We need the grain farmers to join us in this war.”

The link between the grain and chicken industries is direct and significant: around 60% of the maize and most of the soya grown in South Africa every year is processed into feed for the millions of chickens produced by the local chicken industry. Any damage done to this value chain, therefore, delivers a direct blow to grain farmers and the 20 000 people they employ.

In January this year, De Wet Boshoff, CEO of the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA), said that chicken dumping was the animal feed industry’s single biggest challenge, and that over the preceding 12 months, dumping displaced about three million tonnes of locally produced feed.

“The main input into the chicken feed industry is maize,” reemphasises Baird. “This means that every dumped chicken is a chicken that did not eat South African maize and soya. Our fight against dumping and unfair international trade has to be fought on a broader agriculture front, one that includes the grain farmers.”

The seriousness of FairPlay’s call is shown by the fact that imports have already captured 30% of South Africa’s chicken market.