The SA Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) believes that exporting poultry to the European Union will create opportunities for the local poultry sector to grow exponentially. AMIE held a press briefing recently to discuss the opportunities that exporting presents to the sector. The association believes that creating a robust and successful poultry export market for the country’s chicken will bring value to the entire poultry value chain, including local producers and small and medium-scale farmers.
AMIE CEO Paul Matthew said that progress was slow in growing chicken exports. In 2019, all parties, including the local industry, importers and government, signed and agreed to a Poultry Master Plan. A requirement was for the South African poultry industry to grow the export of local products. “While there is enormous opportunity to do so, there is very little progress in this regard,” he said. Matthew explained that there was enormous upside economic value if local producers reoriented their operations to extract value from product preferences and price premiums in different markets.
“While the local industry is technically efficient in producing products for the South African market, and perhaps becoming more so as it mechanises its operations, it will need to rethink its strategy to succeed in the global market,” he said. “Chicken breast meat fetches a premium in Europe, so these markets sell their breast meat there, also at a premium. The same goes for wings, which fetch a premium in the United States, or chicken feet, which are similarly prized in China.
“Conversely, South Africa cuts up a whole chicken and puts it into a bag, selling all the pieces at the same time.” Matthew also pointed to the opportunity for smaller farmers to create employment as a result of a thriving export market. “With an unemployment rate of 35.5% and youth unemployment at a staggering 65.5%, all parties need to do everything they can to grow the size of the overall chicken pie The best way to do this is to build a successful export market,” he pointed out.
“A thriving export market increases production capacity and employment across the board, not only for large-scale producers, but also for medium and small-scale farmers, many of whom are black-owned, and that is an opportunity that must not be overlooked.” AMIE intends to establish an export task team that will work with various stakeholders, including the government and local producers, to fast-track and facilitate access to export markets. “Government plays a critical role in securing the necessary trade conditions for export, and local producers will need to urgently resolve the health and safety challenges required to meet the standards of potential export markets”.