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Poultry plan is good for SA grain industry

The poultry and grain industries are benefitting from the poultry sector master plan as implementation raises production in both sectors.

“We can really report some good progress,” said Corné Louw, senior economist at Grain SA and a member of the team working on the master plan. The plan provides for a strategic partnership between the poultry and grain industries.

The grain industry is involved because the plan envisages increased production of maize and soya – the two main components of poultry feed – as chicken production ramps up to supply expanded local and export markets.

The industries are interdependent. Poultry consumes more than half of South Africa’s yellow maize crop and nearly all of the local soya. Implementation meetings have involved representatives from the two industries, as well as two government departments – Trade and Industry and Agriculture – and the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (AFMA).

The poultry plan target of a 300 000 tonne increase in local grain production has been met this year, Louw says, as the need for poultry feed increased by 5%. It is hoped that the demand for poultry feed is raised to 10% by the end of 2022.

The main production increase has been soya, which for the first time can supply the needs of the poultry sector, enabling them to reduce imports of soya bean oilcake. The estimated soya crop this year is 1.9 million tonnes, of which the poultry industry will take 1.5 million tonnes.

In nine years out of 10, the maize crop meets local demand with some left over for export. The increase in poultry and grain production has resulted in more jobs, and has also been good for transformation, with Grain SA part of the master plan transformation committee.

Louw says that while the partnerships and production increases are happening as planned, the proposed increase in poultry exports needs more emphasis.

Grain SA supports the objective of reducing poultry imports, which saves on foreign exchange while expanded local production creates South African jobs.

“The intention of the master plan is to create a healthy poultry industry and protect ourselves against dumping and uncompetitive practices,” he says.

“The big vision is to increase the local poultry supply, and that would entail more local maize production and more local soya production.”

All in all, it’s good news for the poultry and grain industries, and for job creation.