DURBAN – Chicken imports reached a new record high in 2018 which placed further pressure on the local market, according to the South African Poultry Association (Sapa).
An imports' report drawn up by Sapa based on official SA Revenue Service statistics showed that imports in 2018 totalled 538 434 tons, an increase on the previous record year of 2016, when 528 108 tons of chicken reached the country, said the association in a statement issued on Wednesday.
"Imports dipped slightly in 2017 due to outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) in the EU, which had been a major source of dumped chicken. However, Brazil quickly increased its exports, filling the gap left by EU producers and becoming the major source of both frozen broiler portions and of mechanically deboned meat (MDM) which is used in the food processing industry," said Sapa.
Sapa said its research showed that total frozen broiler imports rose from 368 201 tons in 2015 to 538 434 tons in 2018. The value of all poultry imports in 2018, including MDM, was R6 billion.
"Frozen chicken portions – the imports including the popular bone-in portions that have harmed local producers and killed South African jobs – went up from 221 218 tons in 2014 to 383 297 tons last year.