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LETTER: Chicken fakes and facts

On behalf of chicken importers, Georg Southey pretends that claims of chicken dumping are “fake facts” (Rump and brisket are as different as wing and breast, April 25). Just like the EU, source of most of the chicken dumped in SA, which pretends dumping isn’t happening at all.


Southey should visit retrenched workers and devastated communities in poor areas such as Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal and tell them they haven’t really lost their jobs. He could explain to them that their misery is a “fake fact”.


He could tell them that chicken producers are not cutting production and planning further cutbacks because of chicken dumping. That it’s just a “fake fact”.


He could pretend that chicken imports, through the companies he represents, have not really increased exponentially in the past five years, sold as unwanted surplus below the cost of production — it’s all fake. He could explain that Statistics SA has got it wrong. Bone-in imports (leg quarters unwanted in the EU) did not go up from 62,000 tonnes in 2011 to 194,000 tonnes in 2016. Another “fake fact”.


Southey should cut the fake and face the facts. Imports of dumped chicken have done massive harm to the local industry, cost thousands of jobs and put thousands more at risk. It’s not wrong for EU producers to sell breast portions, regarded as premium cuts, at premium prices in their market. What is wrong is that the portions they don’t want – like the leg quarters that have flooded into SA – are dumped by selling below the cost of production in other markets.


Southey wants SA’s chicken producers to focus on exports, while their industry is ruined by dumped imports. However, when dumping stops the industry will recover, serving both the local and export markets. That’s a real fact, and it will create real jobs, not fake ones.


Francois Baird
Founder, FairPlay antidumping movement

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This letter was first published in Business Day on 28 April 2017