International trade

Thousands of South African jobs exported

Huge amounts of money are exported every month to pay for chicken imports – hundreds of thousands of rand every month and billions every year which could have sustained industries and jobs in South Africa.

And, while import tonnages dropped in 2021, the value of those imports rose by more than 4% from the R5.14 billion sent abroad in 2020.

The R5,35 billion paid for poultry imports in 2021 mean that R36 billion has gone to foreign chicken producers in the six years since 2016 – an average of R6 billion a year.

A small percentage of that will be for turkeys and other birds, and less than half will be for mechanically deboned meat, or MDM – a paste used in the production of processed meats and which is not made in any large quantities in South Africa. 

Still, billions of rand have left the country, year after year, to pay for fresh and frozen chicken imports, and to sustain jobs in Brazil, the United States and Europe.