Economic development

FairPlay takes the “VAT-free chicken” call to government

When government ministers assemble in Parliament ahead of this year’s Budget speech, they will be met by a call to remove value added tax (VAT) from chicken, and a petition signed by thousands of people urging it to support small-scale poultry farmers by removing VAT from their chicken feed.

“We are taking this call direct to the ministers responsible – the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Agriculture,” said Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay movement. “We will also deliver a copy to the Commissioner of the SA Revenue Service (SARS).

“They must act before it’s too late,” he said.

“The poultry industry is in crisis because of rising costs, poor infrastructure and poor delivery of services such as water and electricity. Small-scale farmers have been particularly hard hit, businesses are closing and jobs are being lost.

“Our hard-pressed consumers are going to be hit by further rises in food prices, including chicken, and household budgets will be stretched to breaking point.

“The one thing that can help everybody – farmers and consumers – is to remove VAT from chicken, dropping chicken prices by 15%. It is easily done, it’s affordable, and it’s urgent.

“We will provide the ministers with a detailed proposal on which chicken portions should be exempt from VAT – specifically those portions which are an essential part of the diet of low-income households.

“We will also present the Finance Minister with the petition started by a small-scale farmer calling on government to help other small-scale farmers by removing VAT from poultry feed. That petition currently has close to 5 000 signatures and we hope it will be more than that by the time budget day comes around,” Baird stated.