Poultry producers in South Africa are facing heavy competition from a large and rapid increase in the volume of imports of extremely low-priced frozen poultry meat, and are now requesting a hike in import duties to protect their businesses.
The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) says several companies have ceased trading as a direct result of cheap imports. A quarterly survey of 270 small farmers in December showed that 170 had shut down operations, BusinessDay reports.
SAPA has applied to SA’s International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) for import duties of up to a maximum of 82% – from duties of between 5% and 27% in force now.
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) said that if the application to increase import prices succeeded, it would lead to increases of between 40% and 50% and the more expensive imported chicken would certainly evoke consumer anger.
Last year the country brought an antidumping application against Brazil that was sent back to Itac before a final determination was made.
Products that will be affected include carcasses with all cuts such as thighs, wings, legs and breasts removed; whole birds; boneless cuts; offal and bone-in portions. About 80% of all frozen meat imports were “bone-in portions” that carry a tariff of R2.20/kg. Sapa is asking for a rate of 56% or R6.53 /kg, with a maximum tariff of 82%.
Scott Pitman, head of Sapa’s broiler committee said South African producers were efficient, but were prevented from exporting to Brazil or Russia. “All we are asking for is similar treatment. South Africa has one of the most unprotected poultry industries in the world.”