Dumped imports are not a problem only for SA’s major chicken producers (“Dumping Hits RCL’s Sugar and Chicken Businesses”, March 5). Chicken farmers like me are potentially hit even harder.
The RCLs can adapt their business model to support a unprofitable chicken business through tough times. Small-scale farmers, subsistence farmers and contract growers don’t have the flexibility of multiple operations. When dumped chicken takes away the market we supply, that’s it.
We end up laying off workers and having to find a different way to put food on the table. The biggest irony is that the imported chicken is not much cheaper in the shops. We know dumped chicken comes into the country at much lower prices than our production costs, but somewhere along the line the prices get inflated so that I see chicken from Brazil in shops at just lower than local prices. So when feed costs or electricity prices or wages go up,the companies I supply cannot adjust the price per kilogram they pay me to reflect that.
As a contract grower I am protected to an extent, but dumping hits me when companies I supply reduce orders.
Only if dumping is stopped completely will we have a chance to compete on a level playing field and grow our businesses.