US chicken is back on grocery shelves in South Africa for the first time in nearly 17 years following the arrival of 5 containers of poultry products into the country.
Bone-in chicken leg quarters and drumsticks from Tyson Foods and House of Raeford Farms arrived at the Port of Durban on Feb. 19, and were cleared by South African veterinary authorities on Feb. 22. The chicken cuts have been repackaged under the Jwayelani Butcheries brand and are now for sale at the company’s 21 shops in and around Durban.
The United States and South Africa have reached a definitive agreement to allow US chicken producers to resume exports of US chicken parts to South Africa.
South Africa imposed prohibitive anti-dumping duties on imports of US bone-in chicken cuts in 2000, effectively closing the door on its market to US product. Last year, however, the administration of President Barack Obama threatened to withhold benefits to South Africa under the Africa Growth and Opportunity if South Africa did not reopen its market to US chicken, beef and pork.
An agreement negotiated between the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), and approved by their respective governments, established an annual import quota for US chicken cuts of 65,000 metric tons. The Obama Administration set a deadline of March 15 for South Africa to fully comply with the agreement on imports of poultry and other meats.
Steady economic growth and increases in average income in South Africa has resulted in the rapid expansion of meat consumption over the past two decades. The country now consumes about 2.9 million tonnes of poultry, beef and pork meat per annum, with poultry meat consumption representing more than 60% of total meat consumption.
“We’re delighted to hear that the first shipment of US chicken under the agreement has landed and has met South Africa’s import requirements,” said USAPEEC President Jim Sumner. “We understand that several other shipments are en-route and will arrive before March 15. We also believe that the quota amount for the period will be met.”
Federated Meat, the importing company of the initial shipment, praised the efficiency of the South African veterinary services staff at the port, and said it is happy to have US product back on the butchery shelves.
Zelda Sharp, USAPEEC’s representative in South Africa, said that more containers of US chicken are expected to arrive this week and that USAPEEC and the US Embassy are planning to mark the event with a braai of US chicken.