According to reports from iafrica.com, the SA Poultry Association (SAPA) recently released a statement warning that 20,000 jobs in the poultry sector were at risk, with producers struggling to compete with cheap, low-quality imports
“Local poultry producers are losing tens of millions of rands every week. In the last 18 months, five small to medium sized poultry farms have closed or are in business rescue proceedings, with more than 2,000 jobs lost. Larger poultry producers shed a further 3,000 more,” said SAPA chief executive, Kevin Lovell.
In particular, SAPA said the government needed to act against Brazil and the EU, which it claimed was taking advantage of SA’s relative lack of import restrictions by “dumping” cheap chicken on the market.
SAPA has applied for an increase in import duties for chicken, and the International Trade Administration Commission of SA is currently considering its request.
However, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of South Africa (AMIE) has warned that increasing import quotas could lead to “huge” increases in the price of chicken and chicken products.
In a statement released last month, AMIE chief executive David Wolpert said that SAPA was asking for duties to be pushed up from 27% to 82%.
“Such an increase, if approved by a current government department investigation, will be passed directly on to consumers, many of whom are already impoverished,” he said.
“We believe the extent of the price increases at the tills will be between 30% and 50%. Even SAPA has conceded that an increase of between 10% and 15% is inevitable.”
He added that local poultry producers were blaming cheap imports for their financial difficulties, when in fact they had “numerous business model problems” which would necessitate large price increases if not addressed.