SA poultry producers bleed as tariff-free imports continue

General manager for Sapa’s broiler division, Izaak Breitenbach. Source: Twitter

Tariff free poultry imports are continuing to put pressure on the local market with South African poultry producers reporting substantial losses.

Astral Foods, in its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2019, reported a 68.9% decrease to R258 million, from R828 million in March 2018.

RCL Foods, in its March results for the six months ended 31 December 2018, saw its overall earnings drop by 26%.

Although Astral credited the considerable drop to the newly legislated minimum wage, the impact of load shedding and water supply, CEO Chris Schutte also blamed the lack of import tariffs.

“The lacklustre and ignorant approach to South Africa’s liberal trade barriers is harming our people,” said Schutte.

According to Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the SA Poultry Association’s (Sapa) broiler division, 69 000 tons of poultry products were imported tariff free this year alone – exceeding the 65 000-ton mark for a second consecutive year.

“This is not what was intended and Sapa will bring this to the attention of Sars for them to address,” Breitenbach told FTW online.

The application has however been delayed by the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (Amie) and Merlog Foods who have taken legal action against Sapa.

According to Breitenbach, the delay has harmed 47% of local farmers who have already gone out of business due to unfair trade.

The application, relating to bone-in portions and boneless cuts, is currently under investigation by the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac).

“Sapa believes that the delay by Amie is merely playing with the lives and well-being of small farmers and consumers, but we accept their right to act in a way they perceive to be appropriate,” said Breitenbach.


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