Work on the development of a master plan for the poultry industry is underway, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said on Wednesday.
Government established a task team to work towards a comprehensive plan for the industry that will respond to the immediate threats facing the industry and longer-term measures to improve competitiveness and transformation of the industry.
The task team comprises representatives of government (Departments of Trade and Industry; Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and Economic Development); the Industrial Development Corporation and South African Poultry Association (Sapa). It also includes the Food and Allied Workers Union.
“To date, the dti and industry, Sapa have commenced research work on the development of the Poultry Master Plan, which feeds in to the work of the Task Team,” said the department.
Rise in chicken consumption
This as global poultry meat consumption is on the rise, with white breast meat preferred by higher-income consumers, mostly in developed economies and brown meat being preferred in developing countries.
This pattern, said the department affects the global price patterns for poultry. As a result of this, South Africa has experienced a rise in imports of bone-in chicken portion from a number of trading partners that puts pressure on the domestic industry.
“There is a broad agreement that manufacturing-led growth is critical for high economic and employment growth and the poultry sector is critical to this effort. South Africa has adopted a developmental trade policy, which at its core is to support industrial policy.”
“The role of the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC) is therefore critical to inform the level of tariff afforded to industry. An industry that is experiencing challenges and seeks tariff protection is encouraged to apply to ITAC which will undertake an independent investigation and make recommendations as appropriate to the Minister of Trade and Industry in accordance with South Africa’s international commitments on trade.”
This, it said, relates to both tariff investigations and trade remedies.
Measures to safeguard the industry
Meanwhile, government has put in place several trade measures to avert the demise of the poultry industry.
These include implementation of anti-dumping measures in cases where through the ITAC investigations, there is evidence that poultry products are dumped in the South African market.
Safeguard measures have been implemented in cases of a surge in imports that are causing a threat in the South African market. Duties on imports on whole birds have been increased to 82%, the maximum duty allowed in accordance with South Africa’s World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments.
The current duty on bone-in chicken portions is 37%. In addition, government has opened market access opportunities in the spirit of promoting export-led growth to a number of countries and regions, including the Gulf and European Union.
“All of these measures have assisted to give the industry the necessary protection. These have been done with major push backs from our trading partners given the rise in consumption of especially bone-in chicken portion in the South African market.”
In addition, South Africa also prioritises food safety and assesses the food safety risks associated with meat products (both locally produced and imported) on a regular basis through the Departments of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries and Health.
“The poultry industry is an important sub-sector within South African agriculture. It provides the most affordable source of animal protein to the South African consumer, which makes it critical to food security.”
“Government remains committed to utilizing industrial and trade policy tools in order to address the competitiveness and sustainability of the poultry industry,” said the department.
The department’s comments come as media reported that poultry imports from Brazil are killing the local market and pose a health risk. This as the South African Poultry Association (Sapa) has asked the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, to ban imports from the South American country.