Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/INLSA
JOHANNESBURG - The SA Poultry Association (Sapa) has welcomed the decrease in cheap poultry imports from the EU, the largest dumpers of chicken into the local industry.

Dr Ziyanda Majokweni, a director of Sapa’s Poultry Disease Management Agency, said yesterday that as a result of the avian flu, poultry imports had decreased by 15.1percent and broiler imports by 14.1percent last year.

South America, the US and EU are the biggest culprits as far as dumping of poultry into the local industry is concerned.

Majokweni acknowledged the “big knock” on the economy caused by the outbreak of bird flu, first detected in the country in June last year.

It spread to more than five provinces, including Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Eastern Cape. Jobs were lost and more than 300000 birds culled.

Speaking at the poultry sector forum organised by Proudly South Africa in Johannesburg, Majokweni called on people to buy locally produced poultry to ensure a sustainable industry and encourage innovation.

She said the desired outcomes would be to reduce poultry imports by at least half. They also wanted reinvestment in the industry and to achieve food security and job creation, rural development and transformation, among others.

Majokweni said the sub- Saharan markets needed to be protected against chicken dumping.

FairPlay chief executive Francois Baird said poultry dumping was a national story and that there were anti-dumping measures in place, due to their relentless campaigns.

He echoed Majokweni, saying: “Chicken dumping has slowed down, but the government has not promulgated the measures proposed by its own chicken industry task force, so the next crisis is ahead.”

No trade war

Choosing his words carefully, Baird said they were not trying to start a “radical trade war with the EU We don’t want them to ban our wine (exports), because we’ve banned their chicken imports.

"We want a tariff to be implemented to level the EU and Brazil playing field,” he said.

Baird appealed for more action from the government to bring the situation to its finality as the dumping of chicken was ongoing and jobs were being lost as a result.

He added that when FairPlay started its campaigns against chicken dumping, chicken exporters denied they were engaged in this practice.

“Everybody knows there is chicken dumping. Then they said South African chicken are not competitive. We had to knock that argument and we won. We think the dumping argument has been won.”

- BUSINESS REPORT