Chicken Industry

SA poultry industry and government work to boost access to new export markets

Poultry sector has shed thousands of jobs and blames its demise on cheap chicken imports from Brazil, the US and Europe.

The government and the embattled poultry industry are working to open up new export markets for the sector.

SA’s poultry sector has shed thousands of jobs and blames its demise on cheap chicken imports from Brazil, the US and Europe. This has brought it into conflict with SA meat importers who blame the lack of competitiveness of the local poultry industry for its woes.

The SA Poultry Association has lodged an application to the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) — the organisation tasked with customs tariff investigations, trade remedies and import and export control — calling for an increase in the ad valorem tariff on bone-in and boneless frozen chicken portions to 82% from existing levels of 37% and 12% respectively.

The department of trade & industry said on Wednesday that one of the key interventions expected in the poultry master plan, which is under development to re-invigorate the industry, is to open new export markets for the sector.

The government recently convened a meeting of local poultry producers and importers together with public agencies to map out a growth strategy for the sector. This was after concerns were raised by the industry about a flood of imports of frozen chicken pieces into the local market.

“The South African poultry industry has come under pressure in recent years as a result, in part, of increased import competition. However, it remains strategically important to South Africa as a source of employment and agricultural production. It is estimated that about 50,000 people work in the poultry industry, making up a significant portion of agricultural employment in South Africa,” the department said.

Trade & industry minister Ebrahim Patel said: “We need find a road to a more competitive, inclusive industry employing more South Africans. There are opportunities for us to sell more chicken meat in other parts of the world, increase our capacity and bring down prices for local consumers.”

The development of master plans in the poultry sector is part of a series of master plans being developed across priority industries as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s re-imagined industrial strategy for SA.

By Bekezela Phakathi. First published in the Business Day, 21 August 2019. To access the original article click here