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Violence sets back master plan implementation

South Africa is implementing six industry master plans, and all will have been set back by the violence and destruction, and the disruption of supply chains.

The six are in the automotive, textile, furniture, steel, poultry and sugar sectors. Primary objectives are to curb imports and increase local demand and local production, creating local jobs.

Both of the agricultural industries involved – poultry and sugar – have issued statements detailing significant damage from days of violence.

The SA Poultry Association said producers had suffered incalculable losses and the destruction would have a lasting impact on all South Africans. The violence had affected production and distribution, as well as outlets in the fast food and retail sectors.

Violent mobs had invaded farms, stealing poultry, destroying infrastructure and endangering the lives of industry employees. They had set fires and threatened to burn down large poultry processing operations.

Farm invasions had destroyed the biosecurity measures in place to protect against bird flu, and those flocks were therefore at risk. Day-old chicks had to be euthanised because feed delivery trucks could not get through.

The industry, which is key to South Africa’s food security, was already under pressure due to high input costs, the impact of Covid-19 and hard lockdowns, and recently the bird flu outbreak.

The violence came as the poultry industry had invested more than R1 billion to increase production and create jobs in terms of the poultry master plan. It was transforming the industry to open up opportunities for more emerging farmers to own businesses and farms.

“The destruction of infrastructure seen over the past days will have grave consequences for South Africa, negatively impacting future investment, economic growth and transformation, and will increase hunger due to broken food supply chains and rising costs,” the industry said.

The poultry master plan is significantly behind schedule, mainly because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This will be another setback just as plans were being made to put implementation back on track.

Image: The poultry master signing at the 2nd South African Investment conference. Courtesy: GCIS