Support for the poultry master plan’s proposals to increase local production have come from Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC).
In an article published in the latest Poultry Bulletin, Dr Ntombela said higher tariffs and anti-dumping duties between 2015 and 2020 had slowed the rate of imports but did not signify an increase in domestic production. For sustainable growth, the local poultry industry would have to look beyond trade policy, he said.
In addition to tariff protection, he highlighted four strategic areas of the poultry master plan.
1. Transformation to broaden the supplier base.
2. Expansion of maize and soya production to stabilise feed prices by reducing the volatility caused by world grain prices.
3. Increase the export of premium chicken cuts such as breast meat, enabling producers to make a profit on the total carcass, even when the prices of other portions are lower in the domestic market.
4. Government measures to improve biosecurity and border inspections to counter mislabelling and underpricing of poultry imports.
“In sum, the poultry industry remains an essential sub-sector of agriculture and food security, but efforts to revive it will require many interventions. Import tariffs alone will not be sufficient,” Dr Ntombela concludes.