Poultry importers are desperate because they have a lot to fight for.
Over the past five years, from 2016 to 2020, they have imported poultry worth nearly R30 billion at ports of entry. It would have been worth a whole lot more by the time it reached local markets, and nearly all of it is chicken.
When chicken imports reached a record high in 2018, the free-on-board (FOB) cost was R6.52 billion, according to official statistics. Even though import totals have dropped, they still cost a massive R5,13 billion last year.
That R30 billion was exported, and paid for chicken production and jobs in other countries, mainly in Brazil and the European Union. Imagine what R30 billion would have meant in terms of production and jobs if it had been spent here.