The decision by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel to suspend anti-dumping duties for 12 months will destroy the Poultry Masterplan and negatively smaller farmers, according to FairPlay. The organisation believes that the plan is in tatters, and the 1650 jobs created by the poultry sector including SMMEs and small-scale farmers, are under threat.
Patel recently announced the suspension of anti-dumping duties on chicken imported from five countries for a year, citing the fight against rising price inflation for the poor. FairPlay’s Francois Baird told Vutivi News that the organisation was concerned that small-scale farmers were always the first, and often the hardest to be hit by adverse circumstances such as these. He warned that chicken dumping had shed thousands of jobs over the years.
Dumping, for instance, has cost the poultry sector thousands of jobs, many of them among small-scale farmers and their employees in rural areas where communities are already struggling,” he said. “The same is true of load-shedding. As news reports have shown, its impact on the agricultural sector has severely affected small-scale farmers.” Baird noted that the Poultry Masterplan had so far benefitted the local industry.
However, this progress was now under threat. He said FairPlay supported the plan because it aimed to revitalise an industry that had been in crisis, expanding production and creating some 5000 jobs including amongst SMMEs and smaller farmers. “The South African Poultry Association says that the industry has already created 1450 jobs through investing more than R1.5 billion in expanding poultry processing capacity in the local industry. This will afford market access to established contract growers and emerging black farmers,” Baird said.
“In addition, R650-million has been spent to build poultry houses for black poultry farmers who are currently farming more than 16.8 million birds. “Now, with minister Patel’s policy U-turn, the Poultry Masterplan is likely mortally wounded and its gains under threat.” Baird believes that Patel’s decision has damaged both his own credibility and the plan. “He committed to fighting the dumping, the poultry industry proved (that) dumping (was taking place), he instituted provisional anti-dumping duties for six months and now he allows unfettered dumping for a year,” he said. “The Poultry Masterplan is in tatters.”