March 9, 2022


South African poultry prices soaring due to inflation and Russian-Ukraine conflict



Poultry prices in South Africa are soaring due to escalating food price inflation, the implementation of chicken anti-dumping tariffs, and the Russian-Ukraine conflict, as the domestic poultry sector looks to expand to reduce its reliant on imports, IOL South Africa reported.


Mervyn Abrahams, the Economic Justice and Dignity Group programme co-ordinator in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal province, said frozen chicken prices have gone up 17% in a year.


The country's labour unions and debt firms have warned consumers to expect higher food prices because of a fuel price hike, with the Russian-Ukraine conflict increasing both costs.


Aziz Sulliman, SA Poultry Association (SAPA) chairman, said ZAR 1.14 billion (~US$75 million; ZAR 10 = US$0.66 has been invested to boost local slaughter capacity to 22.5 million birds weekly from 19 million birds three years ago. 1,365 additional jobs are expected to be created in the sector by the end of this year.


The five biggest poultry producers, Astral Foods, Rainbow Chicken (RCL Foods), Country Bird Holdings, Sovereign Foods, and Daybreak Farms, account for nearly 70% of local weekly production.


Izaak Breitenbach, head of SAPA's broiler organisation, said current production is at 20.5 million birds weekly, 1 million short of the industry's expectation.


He said the implementation of anti-dumping duties on bone-in imports from Brazil and four EU countries could affect local producers' ability to meet demand.


In December 2021, South Africa introduced provisional anti-dumping duties on chicken imports from Brazil (265.4%), Denmark (67.4%), Ireland (158.42%), Poland (96.9%), and Spain (85.8%) on leg quarters, drumsticks, thighs, and wings until June 14, 2022.


Paul Matthew, the chief executive of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, was concerned that the domestic poultry industry would not be able to meet demand. He cites the failure of the poultry master plan's objective for local producers to export the white meat to trade partners overseas because of bureaucracy and cost-inducing delays.


Research based poultry activist group ChickenFacts said if chicken imports were halted, the country will be affected by poultry shortages, rising prices, and food security problems.


-      IOL South Africa

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