The illegal practice of dumping chicken imports continues to devastate the South African poultry industry, including SMMEs, according to François Baird, the founder of the FairPlay Movement that advocates for anti-dumping. He has warned that if the matter was not urgently addressed, many jobs and livelihoods would be lost.
“In the three financial years from July 2017 to June 2020, more than half of the bone-in chicken imported into South Africa was dumped product – imported at prices below the relevant sales price in the producer countries,” Baird said in a statement. “The import value of this dumped bone-in chicken (leg quarters, thighs, wings and other chicken pieces containing bones) totalled R6.4-billion. That’s a multi-billion motivation to lobby against measures to restrict dumped imports.” Baird said Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland and Spain benefited financially from dumping chicken.
“Dumping is taking place because the major chicken producers in Brazil and the EU make their Northern Hemisphere profits from the preference there for chicken breast meat,” he said. “That sells at premium prices, and the brown meat – bone-in chicken – piles up as an unwanted surplus. This surplus chicken is frozen and sold in bulk packs to any market that will take it and at any price, they can get.” This had led to the devastation of prime chicken markets in West Africa, and the South African poultry industry was attempting to prevent the same thing from happening here.
He said to secure anti-dumping duties, the industry had to prove that dumping was taking place and causing material injury to local producers. “The industry has lost revenue, profits and market share, putting local jobs in the most vulnerable rural communities in peril,” Baird said.
“Because dumped imports have taken the bulk of increased local demand, the industry has been unable to grow sufficiently to achieve economies of scale. While the industry has invested in additional production capacity, some of it is lying idle.”
Both the chicken and sugar industries have called on the government to act against anti-dumping. Around 80% of the poultry sector in South Africa is made up of SMMEs. The government recently launched a master plan for the industry to help bolster it and create jobs.