Durban - Governments should take the blame for job losses in the poultry industry due to what has been termed “poultry dumping” in the recent past, Mauricio Adade, board chairman of the Africa Improved Foods told the Daily News on Thursday.
Adade was speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017. He was a panellist on the forum’s session titled Africa’s Food Paradox.
The panel was looking into how small scale farmers can contributed to the continent’s food basket and what strategies could work to their advantage.
Adade said South Africa had no way of escaping job losses if the agricultural sector was not competitive globally. He further said technology in other parts of the world played a role in the agriculture industry.
KZN and other parts of the country lost more than 1 000 jobs when Rainbow Chicken reportedly sold 15 of its 25 farms in Hammarsdale because of cheap imported chickens. In the Free State and North West about 1500 jobs were lost while in Polokwane about 1 000 jobs were lost.
“It’s about competitiveness. The world is global so if you’re not competitive then you are out of the game. To protect local market governments must develop policies that provides for import tariffs, anti-dumping and other measures. We need long term policies that will guide operations on domestic and foreign produce. Failure to have these policies will result in what KwaZulu-Natal experienced,” Adade said.
According to the 2015 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report, over the past two decades, steady economic growth and increased average income in South Africa resulted in the rapid expansion of meat consumption.
In a statement, Jane Thomson, Softworx managing director said South Africa consumes about 2.9 million tons of poultry, beef and pork meat per annum, with poultry meat consumption representing more than 60 percent of total meat consumption.
Thomson said farming and the food industry required technology to perform better.
“To deliver efficiency improvements, technology enhancements across the food industry will need to be drastic. This spans agriculture, aquaculture and the supply chain throughout farming, food production and processing. Technology will be a critical part of these developments, but it needs to be closely aligned to the idiosyncrasies of the specific industry segment within food manufacturing. Deep, specific expertise is the order of the day to drive efficiencies,” Thomson said.
Softworx is a software provider which works with various industries including agriculture.
The panellists concluded that small scale farmers needed to adopt to technological developments to get the basic ingredients for the right produce.