FairPlay warned in 2020 to expect a tsunami of European chicken drowning African markets. Now it is happening, as it happened before. A flood of imports crippled Ghana’s domestic poultry industry once already. Now the European Union is again flooding Ghana with ever-rising exports of frozen chicken portions.
This is revealed in an analysis by Brussels-based epamonitoring.net, which has highlighted a surge in EU poultry exports to Sub-Saharan markets this year. The reason is a build-up of EU stocks because of post-Brexit poultry trade problems between the EU and Britain. Epamonitoring says this trade diversion “is likely to get worse before it gets better”.
Ghana is the main EU poultry market in Africa, and EU exports increased 33% in the first quarter of 2021. Other notable increases were to the Democratic Republic of Congo (77%), Gabon (31.3%), Guinea (18.2%) and Benin (14.8%).
However this is more than a Brexit issue. EU export statistics show that EU poultry exports to Ghana have climbed steadily since 2017, from 143 900 tonnes then to 213 917 tonnes in 2020. That’s a sustained assault, also known as predatory trade.
It comes after the then Ghanaian president, John Mahama told the United Nations in 2016 that poultry imports were responsible for massive job losses and increasing migration. Ghana’s poultry industry estimated at the time that imports had taken 95% of the local poultry market.
The effect of the predatory trade assault on jobs and migration is well known, but it is less well-known what price consumers pay for predatory trade assaults: Chicken becomes more expensive than steak. According to Stats SA, rump steak costs R118.39 per kilo in KwaZulu-Natal and according to the 2017 USDA Poultry Report, chicken cost R226.69 per kilo in Ghana.
Ghana has since attempted to rebuild its poultry industry, but a deluge of EU chicken may negate those efforts.
Predatory trade by the EU is the most expensive own goal in global trade.
The EU spends a fortune in tax payer funds supporting and subsidising its farmers. Then it uses economic partnership agreements (EPAs) to force African markets to accept dumped chicken produced by uncompetitive EU poultry producers, while access to the EU market by poultry producers in other countries is contained below 10%.
This EU chicken dumping destroys African chicken producers, causing social and economic devastation. The EU then spends billions more, of tax payer money, in providing aid to help African countries cope with the devastation caused by predatory trade practices.
We know who wins from EU predatory trade practices, but it is the poor and weak in Africa who lose again. And EU tax payers.
Image: John Mahama, then President of Ghana, addressing the UN General Assembly’s 70th session. UN Photo/Cia Pak CC BY-NC-ND 2.0