South Africa’s electricity shortages and the spread of bird flu have tipped the country’s largest poultry producer, Astral Foods, into the first loss in its 23-year history.
Astral Foods says that it needs to increase chicken prices to recover losses due to bird flu, load shedding and high input costs. The government says that, if prices go up, it will encourage chicken imports by lifting anti-dumping duties.
Meat importers are selling more chicken in South Africa than Astral, the country’s largest poultry producer.
South Africa’s worst avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak is under control, says the government, but the country’s largest poultry producer takes a wait-and-see approach.
South Africa’s food price inflation continues to be driven by the impact of regular power cuts known as load shedding, according to the independent Bureau for Food and Agriculture Policy (BFAP).
There was some good news in the unemployment report as South Africa’s agricultural sector added jobs in the third quarter, employing 61 000 more people than in the previous quarter.
The South African parliament’s standing committee on finance has recommended expanding the basket of foods on which no value added tax (VAT) is paid.
In a Carte Blanche expose, South Africa’s small-scale poultry farmers face financial ruin due to bird flu. Without government compensation, rebuilding seems impossible.
Executives from the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) present conflicting views on chicken import rebates, causing confusion.
Former meat import executive David Wolpert proposes import quotas to address challenges faced by South African poultry companies. He urges government support to restore profitability and uphold the local poultry sector’s vital role in providing affordable protein.
Two University of Cape Town academics are advocating for temporary chicken import rebates, emphasising potential relief to consumers. However, FairPlay raises concerns about the focus of their report.
The South African Human Rights Commission says child malnutrition in the Eastern Cape is a disaster, following an investigation revealing alarming rates and underreporting. Remedial steps with set deadlines are advised for urgent intervention.
South Africa ranks as the fifth largest market for KFC globally, surpassing the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia, and Australia.
Brazil, the world’s leading poultry exporter and bird flu-free, anticipates record-breaking sales this year, reaching over 5 million tons. China, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa top the list of major export destinations.
Will South Africa experience a shortage of chicken over Christmas and New Year, or will local supply be able to meet the festive demand?
The SA Poultry Association opposes rebate proposals on chicken import tariffs, warning that this could devastate local poultry producers.
Chicken importers are pushing for specific tariff reductions that would significantly undercut local chicken farmers.
As the local poultry industry asks for emergency support measures, the government considers incentives to boost chicken imports.
The extent of poultry industry difficulties will be revealed later this month when Astral Foods, South Africa’s largest poultry producer, announces its year-end results.
Just when South Africa seemed certain to retain its benefits under the Agoa trade deal with the United States, a new threat has emerged.
Amid South Africa’s devastating bird flu outbreak, poultry producers are pinning their hopes on a government relief package. With losses reaching R4.8 billion, the stakes are high.
While the Democratic Alliance’s stance on South Africa’s poultry industry has proven to be inconsistent, the party now supports relief for bird flu-affected farmers.
Proposed chicken import tariff rebates continue to face scrutiny, especially as the local industry has reportedly contained the bird flu outbreak and is stabilising chicken supplies. Consumer benefits from rebates also remain uncertain and contested.
FairPlay’s founder, Francois Baird, argues that reducing anti-dumping duties on imported chicken may not benefit consumers as much as importers.
Optimism surrounds South Africa’s diplomatic and trade relations with the United States post the Agoa Forum meeting as talks of a long-term renewal for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act offer reassurance.
As South Africa contemplates Agoa renewal, a key question remains to be answered: Will the substantial US quota of duty-free chicken imports continue?
The upcoming FairPlay Food Security Summit has been cancelled. Despite this, founder Francois Baird stresses the ongoing need for food security solutions, emphasising the vital collaboration between government and the private sector to address South Africa’s pressing food security concerns.
South Africa faces food security threats due to rising costs, reduced produce volumes, and infrastructure challenges. Economists warn of potential price increases and urge government-business collaboration for resolution.
In September 2023, South Africa’s food price inflation inched up after a five-month decline, nearing headline inflation. Poultry and pork prices defied global trends due to the weak exchange rate, with poultry prices rising by 1.4%.
The SA Poultry Association says there will be little or no local chicken shortage in South Africa for the festive season. The impact of avian influenza is being mitigated by various contingency plans.
The SA Poultry Association emphasises the need for government compensation for culled chickens due to bird flu outbreaks. The industry also opposes import tariff rebates, calling for support of local poultry production and food security.
FairPlay challenges the CEO of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) for making exaggerated claims about potential chicken shortages due to bird flu, pointing out that lower import tariffs won’t necessarily benefit consumers and that it is more important to support the local poultry industry.