SA poultry industry shows signs of improvement

Cape Town – Market conditions for South Africa’s poultry industry are improving and as far as government knows there have no further layoffs and factory closures.

This was according to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies who responded to a question from the ANC’s Sharome van Schalkwyk in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Davies also contributed the improved conditions to the prevalence of bird flu in some European Union (EU) countries reducing the number of imported poultry products.

The task team led by the Department of Trade and Industry to consider a number of efforts to resolve the crisis in the industry, Davies said, is continuing its work, including enabling the local procurement of poultry.

The South African poultry industry is not currently a designated sector for local procurement (which means the public sector is obliged to buy locally), but Davies said he is working hard to have the poultry sector included.

The task team is also working closely with the private sector to explore new and existing markets for the export of South African poultry products.

Davies emphasised that South Africa is facing an “abnormal” situation in the poultry trade where white meat consumption gets preference in developed countries who then “dump” their “spare parts” (brown meat, or bone-in chicken parts) in developing countries.

“Developing countries are under pressure to open up their markets, while these developed markets are at the same time trying to stop South Africa from exporting white meat,” Davies said.

He undertook to make sure the South African poultry sector does not suffer the same fate as some West African countries, such as Cameroon and Ghana, where their respective poultry industries suffered immensely due to the opening up of markets.

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