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The Wizards of Oz

Now here’s a surprise – a sudden surge in chicken imports from Australia, including drumsticks at nearly half the price of imports from the mass producers, Brazil.

Australia has sold small amounts of chicken to South Africa sporadically over the past four years, and nothing in the first half of 2021. Then in December 2021 imports were up 274% on the previous month, again on small volumes compared to other countries.

However, the imports of frozen Australian drumsticks are interesting. Nothing all year until December, when Australia sold R626 550 worth of drumsticks, at an average price of R8.89/kg, compared to the South African producer price of R35.46/kg (frozen) and R34.67/kg (IQF) in October.

In 2019 and 2020, years when Brazil has been accused of dumping bone-in chicken portions in South Africa, they sold drumsticks for 17.96/kg and R15.77/kg.

Australia is selling drumsticks for around half of the amount charged by Brazil. And drumsticks are the cheapest thing on the Australian menu – priced below chicken feet (R10.33/kg in December) and the processed meat paste MDM (R10.85/kg).

How do they do it?

Source: SA Poultry Association’s imports report for December 2021, which is based on verified statistics from the SA Revenue Service.

Image: A container ship in Port Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Photo by Enguerrand Blanchy.

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