Low priced imports don’t benefit consumers

An analysis of the South African poultry market has shown once again that low import prices of dumped and predatory chicken portions don’t mean low retail prices for consumers.

In an article in Landbouweekblad, Prof Johan Willemse, one of the country’s leading agricultural economists, said low prices of imported portions were not passed on to the consumer.

“The argument by meat importers that they provide cheap meat to poor consumers has yet to be properly substantiated,” he wrote.

“The price in June of frozen imported chicken thighs was for example listed as about R14/kg, but the domestic price was nearly R75/kg.

“Available information indicates that the products are priced slightly lower than the domestic product. This ensures fairly good profit margins for importers, and at the same time it puts downward pressure on the prices of domestic producers.”

He said chicken imports replaced some 1.5 million tonnes of locally produced feed, affecting both maize and soya farmers and the red meat industry. These industries need to support the poultry industry in the fight against dumped imports.