DURBAN - THE SA Poultry Association (Sapa) says high prices of maize and soya beans have risen even further due to the international conflict in Ukraine. This has resulted in increased costs for poultry farmers, which in turn has led to higher prices for poultry products.
Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the association, said the poultry industry had been struggling with higher costs since last year. “We faced increased costs in the price of maize and soybean last year. There was a R65 increase in the price of maize and soybean and a 20% increase in chicken feed. An increase in input costs is passed on to chicken products.” The price of fertiliser, crude oil and soya beans had increased dramatically and could be attributed to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, he said.
“Ukraine is an exporter of maize and soybean, which is affected by the war with Russia. At the moment we are seeing historically high prices of chicken feed. Other countries have also felt the strain. Brazil has also increased the price of chicken products by 22% due to increased input costs.”
Mervyn Abrahams, of the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group, said that the organisation had noted a major increase in the price of poultry products, among others.
“A number of factors are contributing to increased food prices – the increase in the fuel price and electricity tariff and the Russia and Ukraine conflict. The increase in frozen chicken pieces has been staggering: in April 2021 the price was about R330. This year April the price increased to R374 – an increase of over R40 and a 13% year-on-year increase.”
The overall price of a basic food basket has increased from R4 185 in April 2021 to R4 529 last month, an increase of R344.
“The problem in South Africa is that when prices go up, wages and salaries don’t go up at the same rate. That is why we find the consumer struggling.”
The rising food costs come amid price hikes for both illuminating paraffin and diesel this week, with a marginal decrease in the price of both grades of petrol. Minister of Minerals and Energy Resources Gwede Mantashe yesterday announced a 12c/litre decrease to both grades of petrol, but low-sulphur 50ppm diesel will increase by 92c a litre and the regular 500ppm will see a 98c rise. Illuminating paraffin will rise by 79.6c/litre. The prices come into effect today. Layton Beard, spokesperson for the AA, welcomed the petrol price decrease, but said the price of illuminating paraffin was particularly worrying as this was used for cooking, heating and lighting and comes as South Africa enters winter.
Professor Bonke Dumisa, an independent economic analyst, said: “The best we can do is buy necessities and save money to help with rising costs.”