SA poultry industry sees a brighter future

The continuing clamp down on illegal chicken imports is yielding positive benefits for the South African poultry industry.

Details were provided by the SA Poultry Association’s Izaak Breitenbach at a recent online poultry marketing information day, which was co-hosted by the National Agricultural Marketing Council and the Department of Agriculture.

He said the industry had been in distress for at least 10 years because of low profitability caused by dumped chicken imports. This had resulted in poor re-investment and South Africa losing 30% of its market to imports.

Over the past three years, however, actions in accordance with the poultry sector master plan have kicked in, helping to grow the industry and address illegal and unfair trade practices. These have contributed to a 9.8% growth in production capacity, a 22.2% decline in poultry imports in general and a 51% decline in the important sector of bone-in chicken imports such as leg quarters.

He said the South African industry was competitive, and had no problem with fairly priced imports.

“However, illegal trade and unfair competition, when countries sell poultry below their domestic prices, undermine the South African industry and its income and job creation potential.”

Breitenbach then set out what is still to come:

1. A final determination on the application for anti-dumping duties against Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain after the provisional determination last December.

2. An application to renew anti-dumping duties against the United States.

3. Intensified inspections at harbours to address tax evasion and the under-declaration of chicken products.

4. A review of all import measures relating to poultry, which would hopefully result in easier and more efficient measures, including a reference price, and percentage-based ad-valorem duties, to prevent an understatement of import prices.

5. Improving health and safety measures at ports to ensure that chicken imports comply with local standards.

6. Regulations to prevent the thawing and refreezing of imported meat, and the sale of previously frozen meat as fresh meat.

If all or even most of that comes to pass, South African poultry producers will have some good news announcements to cheer about as 2022 progresses.