In an exclusive interview with ENCA, FairPlay founder Francois Baird said the rebates scheme was a “bad plan” which should be scrapped before it ruined South Africa’s poultry industry and its value chain of maize and soya producers.
Baird said that a poultry industry survey in 2019 had found that 47 000 small-scale poultry farmers had closed their businesses.
Since then, poultry farmers had been hit with Covid, load-shedding, bird flu and mass culls, inflation, and infrastructure collapse.
Now, he said trade minister Ebrahim Patel “wants to subsidise dumping again to finally ruin them”.
“Scrap this whole idea. It’s a terrible idea and it won’t work,” he urged. Minister Patel was “gifting (chicken) importers fat profits” at the expense of South Africa’s poultry farmers and the grain producers who supplied the feed.
In a letter to Business Day, Baird pointed out that no rebates have yet been granted, despite chicken importers giving the impression that the rebates are already in effect.
“Rebates are now available, but they have to be applied for, and hopefully the barriers indicated in the scheme will be applied as stated.”
The barriers were that rebate permits would be granted only if there was a shortage of chicken caused by bird flu outbreaks.
“Chicken is in oversupply now and prices are dropping, not rising.”
Baird noted in response to a letter from importer Roy Thomas that importers were making no promises about pricing.
“Despite all his gushing about the supposed benefits of the scheme, Thomas is but the latest importer to make no commitment to ensure that all of any new discount gets through to consumers,” Baird wrote.