Call to probe SA's beleaguered poultry industry

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Cape Town - The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of SA (Amie) has rejected claims that it is responsible for job losses and is now calling for an investigation into the local chicken industry.

"For as long as the local industry willfully deflects scrutiny from its own systemic problem, South Africa’s food security remains at risk. That is why I have requested that the Portfolio Committee Chair on Trade and Industry consider launching an appropriate Parliamentary inquiry into the local chicken industry," Amie CEO David Wolpert said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said he is concerned that the public has been misled in the debate surrounding the state of the local chicken industry and the jobs that the industry is shedding.  

"Worse, it is our contention that this manipulation not only serves to preserve the profits of the local industry, but also puts South Africa's food security at risk."

Local chicken producers have been complaining that EU countries and the US are dumping the pieces that are less in demand in their markets on South Africa.

Major chicken producer RCL Foods, which owns the Rainbow and Farmer Brown chicken brands, warned that it would have to let more than 1 300 farm workers go and shut down various farms in Hammarsdale in KwaZulu-Natal owing to unfavourable conditions in the industry.

"Local poultry would have the public believe that importers of chicken have been to blame for recent job losses in local industry," said Wolpert. 

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