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SA poultry industry’s firm stand against delayed duties

On behalf of local poultry producers, the SA Poultry Association (SAPA) has taken an uncompromising stand against the decision to delay the imposition of anti-dumping duties on poultry imports from Brazil and four EU countries.

Izaak Breitenbach, head of SAPA’s broiler division, has focused on the 2019 poultry master plan, which the industry has supported because it aims to increase local production and reduce chicken imports by taking “decisive action” against dumping.

Breitenbach issued a strong statement in which he said the poultry industry had fulfilled its master plan commitments, including the investment of more than R1.5 billion in expanded production and the creation of more than 1 600 jobs.

By approving dumping, even if only for 12 months, the decision “calls into question the trust all have invested in the master plan process” the statement said.

Some of the new capacity would now stand idle, and additional planned investments might be suspended because of the uncertainty the delay had caused. This was interpreted by the Sunday Times as a “R570m threat”.

Breitenbach saw it differently: “industry wants to invest, and has already invested a lot, but now we have a delayed return waiting for us”.

The report also referred to the statement by FairPlay founder Francois Baird that the delay was “a licence to dump” for the five countries involved. It invited “a deluge of dumped imports that would do untold damage to the credibility of Patel and the master plan he has driven since its inception,” Baird said.

Baird told Business Day that small-scale poultry farmers in particular were angry because they felt their businesses were threatened by the delay. “They’re so angry they want us to march against the minister,” he said.

In a lengthy interview with the SABC, Breitenbach said the absence of duties for 12 months would not lead to cheap chicken for consumers. Cheap imports were sold at the same price as local chicken, so the benefits went not to consumers “but landed in the pockets of importers”.

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