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Paarl - Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says he is ready to raise tariffs on cheap chicken imports, but needs local industry to act first.

“The obvious remedy is for us to raise the general tariff... But there is not a consistent message coming from the players in the (local) poultry sector,” he said on Tuesday.

Davies was speaking at a “dialogue” in the Western Cape town of Paarl with farmers and commercial farming organisations.

Responding to a call by Grain SA officials for tariff protection in the face of increasing imports of cheap chicken from Brazil, he said anti-dumping duties would not solve the problem.

But an increase in the general tariff would.

“Come with a consistent message that (you) want to support poultry production in South Africa...(that you) want a tariff to support (it) at the expense of ever-increasing imports coming into the country... (and) you’re pushing at an open door,” Davies told them.

He said he was prepared to act on the matter of tariffs. - Sapa