Heads of poultry industries from both countries want Africa to form a united political front against the EU’s so-called dumping of chicken portions.
Dumping happens when exports are sold below the cost of production. In the case of South Africa, its poultry industry has claimed to be in a state of crisis because the EU has sold huge volumes of chicken legs – bits of the carcase it struggles to sell domestically – at low prices in southern Africa. The result has been huge job losses, factory closures, production scale-backs and protests in Pretoria.
Now, Victor Oppong Adjei, chairman of the Ghana National Poultry Association, Charlotte Nkuna, interim CEO of the South African Poultry Association, Katishi Masemola, general secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union, and Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay anti-dumping movement, have committed to work on a united African policy to combat the issue.
Policy ‘ineffective’ so far
A fight for a level playing field could now be on the cards. Adjei said action to date by the government had been “ineffective”, but the signatories want to force the Ghanaian and South African governments to apply tighter tariffs on poultry imports from Brazil, the EU and the US.
If imports were restricted, Ghana’s poultry industry would be able to launch a major recruitment drive, creating more than 200,000 jobs. Currently, the industry employs just 5% of this figure.
Other proposals to mitigate the impact of chicken dumping include applying health, food safety and labelling rules akin to EU policy on meat imports. This could potentially lower the volume of chicken the bloc exports to South Africa and Ghana.
Efforts to unite business and trade unions, politicians and non-governmental organisations to outlaw dumping and “predatory pricing” form another route the anti-dumping activists plan to take.