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Poultry master plan counts its wins

The three poultry master plan successes that have been most noted are the industry’s R1.5 billion investment in additional capacity; a breakthrough in chicken exports to the Middle East; and the end of a dispensation allowing imported chicken to be labelled as coming from multiple countries.

There are many more, not least of which is the fact the master plan brings together representatives from government, the poultry industry, importers and unions. That makes it easier to identify issues and bottlenecks, and sort out problems. Because of regular communication between stakeholders and master plan implementers, it acts as a quick response mechanism when challenges arise.

Other achievements are:

1. The grain industry and feed manufacturing industry haves seen growth due to the poultry masterplan. Production acreage increased and exceeded the 5% increase in poultry production.

2. The government is working to open new export markets, and has found potential trade partners interested and receptive.

3. More export openings lie ahead, particularly for cooked meat to the Middle East, which appreciates the availability of halaal chicken. DALRRD is working on a checklist to ensure producers are aware of the requirements in various countries.

4. The longer term challenge of raw meat exports to markets like the European Union is being tackled with input from EU officials. The government is optimistic that the issue of veterinary export certification can be overcome, opening the way for increased exports to the EU.

5. The African Continental Free Trade Area, which came into force in January, will facilitate exports to other African countries.

6. Transformation is coming about through the establishment of new black contract growers, with support from the industry and DALRRD. By the end of the year, new hatcheries should be producing 50 000 birds per week.

7. Action is being taken to stop illegal imports. The SA Revenue Service (SARS) is part of an inter-agency working group looking at incorrect import classifications, under-declaration of products and round-tripping of imports.

8. There will be enhanced monitoring at border posts. Trade measures, including anti-dumping duties, help to stop dumping, and the government is in touch with trading partners to maintain good trading relations by helping to curb illegal activities.

9. The government is raising awareness of the need to buy local poultry. In co-operation with the industry, Proudly South African and the Consumer Goods Council, plans are being made to help consumers spot South African products through prominent labelling of local chicken packs.

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