PRESS RELEASE: Struggling poultry industry needs help and protection - UDM
For a while now the South African poultry industry has been struggling to make ends meet. The influx of cheap imports from Brazil and Holland in particular has led to the loss of thousands of jobs in the poultry industry and related sectors, without any meaningful intervention from the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries. For instance, it is often said that the poultry sector uses more than 30 per cent of South Africa’s maize and soya for chicken feed. This means that when the poultry industry struggles these related industries go down with it.
Of concern are reports that some of the imports sent to the rural areas do not even meet the basic health standards. Many rural communities throughout South Africa complain about the poor quality of the chicken that foreign companies dump in their shores. They claim that foreign companies are selling boxes of rotten chicken at very cheap prices.
Not only does this make it difficult for the South African poultry industry to compete with foreign companies, ineffective inspection controls which make it possible for foreign companies to dump poor quality products in rural markets has dire health consequences for the rural poor.
The Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) should, therefore, work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that poultry imports meet the same high standards as products from South Africa in all aspects of consumer safety. This would help protect the welfare of the consumers and improve public health. Such a step would also weed out unscrupulous foreign competitors.
Considering that many people, particularly the rural poor, are directly dependent on this industry for their livelihood, the Department needs to protect the poultry sector from fierce foreign competition by helping poultry farmers, especially the emerging farmers, to root out inefficiencies in their operations. It has to address the lack of efficient marketing systems in rural areas in order to ensure the global competitiveness of the South African poultry industry.
Mr Lennox Gaehler, MP
UDM Spokesperson on Agriculture