The Fair Play Movement said it was “disappointed” that South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma did not acknowledge the growing crisis in the country’s chicken industry when he made his annual state of nation address today (10 Feb).
“Illegal dumping must be stopped urgently to give hope to the thousands whose lives and livelihoods are being destroyed every month,” said Ashoek Adhikari, spokesperson of the Fair Play Movement. “We call on the government to act now to prevent the loss of thousands more jobs.
“The fate of an entire industry now rests in the hands of the task team established by the Department of Trade and Industry to seek solutions. Fair Play calls on this national committee, which includes government and industry representatives, to work quickly and effectively.
'Preventing job losses'
“President Zuma made frequent references to the need to create jobs, and government’s job creation initiatives. Equal attention should be paid to preventing job losses; stopping EU chicken dumping would create thousands of jobs immediately, at no cost to the government.”
Adhikari said stopping the damaging EU dumping should be a “national priority” and warned the industry faces “collapse” if urgent action is not taken.
South Africa’s poultry industry has been suffering from a burgeoning crisis sparked by, it claims, the EU dumping chicken pieces that it cannot sell at home.
As such, this has led to a situation where supply of chicken in South Africa far outweighs national demand for white meat. This has resulted in thousands of jobs being lost, as numerous factories have had to slow production to dramatically scale back poultry output.
Early this month, one of the country’s largest poultry processors, RCL Foods, said its half-year profits could fall by more than 50% as dumped imports and rising feed cost put pressure on the business.
The gloomy picture came after the government launched a task force to find ways of bringing an end to one of the darkest periods in South Africa’s poultry industry.
“If nothing is done, the entire industry faces collapse,” warned Adhikari. “Dumping killed the chicken industry in Ghana. We must not let it happen here.”