AS A broiler farmer and the chairperson of the South African Poultry Association (Sapa), I read with interest Banele Ginindza’s article “Reorganisation of the poultry industry now on track” (Business Report, 30 June).
Even before the Poultry Industry Master Plan was signed 18 months ago, South Africa’s poultry producers were focused on providing food security and thousands of jobs to South Africans. The growth and expansion of the industry is essential not only for us as individual farmers, or for the industry body that represents big and small producers, but also for South African consumers, who create the demand for affordable, popular protein.
So as an industry we have welcomed the master plan and Minister Ebrahim Patel’s dedication to find solutions to the stubborn problems that have prevented this industry from growing at the same pace as the demand for chicken. As the second-biggest industry in the agricultural sector, we are pivotal in stimulating economic growth for the country, creating jobs in poultry, but also in grain production, transport, packaging, pharmaceutics, infrastructure and more.
We could do so much more if our markets were secure, the same way the EU takes strict measures to reserve market space for their own producers to bolster their domestic economies. It is simply logical that we have to stop unfair trade practices, banned by the World Trade Organization, that stand in the way of this growth. The review of the ineffective tariff structure, as called for by the master plan, is essential if we are to reach a place where fair imports can compete with our own locally produced chicken on a level playing field.
The resistance posed by irresponsible importers, who also signed the master plan and now aim to obstruct its unfolding, is maddening and counterproductive. We have so many difficult challenges to overcome in South Africa; but providing affordable chicken for all our people while creating jobs and adding to the fiscus is achievable.
We would like to build on the process that has already created R4.7 billion growth and 1 298 new jobs, and we support Patel’s efforts, so that we can increase our contribution to the gross domestic product from R48bn in 2019 to an estimated R54bn in 2022. It just makes sense for all of South Africa.
Aziz Sulliman is the chairperson of the South African Poultry Association
*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL or of title sites