SOUTH AFRICA – The South Africa’s poultry industry is set to receive a major boost from a government-led master plan aimed at making local producers more competitive.

The government, through the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has engaged industrial players in to explore a definitive ‘Poultry Master Plan’ for the local market that will also open up new export markets for South African poultry.

The plan brought on board importers, exporters, local producers and regulators including the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Astral Food and RCL Foods among others.

Meat and poultry producers in South Africa have been pushing for reforms in the poultry sector with an aim of maintaining balance between local poultry producers and importers and protect the local industry.

With majority of South Africa’s poultry imports originating from Brazil, the United States and European Union, local producers have been blaming chicken dumping to significantly impact their performance.

In its efforts to protect the local industry, the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) proposed hefty hike in tariffs from 37% to 82% ad valorem for bone-in cuts of chicken and a massive jump from 12% to 82% ad valorem for boneless cuts of chicken imports.

This had catapulted the tariff battle between local poultry producers and importers with each proposing diverse opinions on the matter.

However, stakeholders have now moved to streamline the industry and have agreed to work together in developing the Poultry Master Plan of South Africa.

Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel said that the stakeholders sought to thrash out a growth strategy for the sector following industry concerns over a flood of imports of frozen chicken pieces, reports IOL Business.

“We need find a road to a more competitive, inclusive industry employing more South Africans. There are opportunities for us to sell more chicken meat in other parts of the world, increase our capacity and bring down prices for local consumers,” Patel said.

“The development of master plans in the poultry sector is part of a series of master plans being developed across priority industries as part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s re-imagined industrial strategy for South Africa.”

Paul Matthew, CEO AMIE said that the intervention seeks to build “a strong poultry strategy that will ensure that AMIE with its international resources and SAPA with it local resources work together on common interests that will add value to the Poultry Master Plan of South Africa.”

Matthew said that AMIE will be engaging SAPA and other role players in drawing up a business plan that will be presented to government next month.

SAPA said it hoped the master plan would address the disparity in grain prices between South Africa and the US, Brazil and Ukraine.

Sapa’s general manager, Izaak Breitenbach, said there was hope for the industry now that the four key role-players were focused on the same objectives.

“Some trade measures will also be necessary, but not the primary focus; the focus will be more on bilateral agreements,” Breitenbach said.