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Poultry association warns of more job cuts

Kevin Lovell said they lost 5,000 jobs in the last two years and could lose 20,000 this year.

Kevin Lovell said they lost 5,000 jobs in the last two years and could lose 20,000 this year. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Poultry Association has warned thousands of people could lose their jobs if they don't get an increase in imports.

An agreement has been reached between parties involved in a court application for information about a rise in chicken import duty costs.

The matter was expected to be brought before the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday but it was settled out of court.

The Association for Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) was opposed to increased tariffs, fearing it would increase prices for consumers.

The poultry association's Kevin Lovell said, "We've lost 5,000 jobs in the last two years and we think we could easily lose another 20,000 this year if we don't get some relief from the flood of imports."

Meanwhile, earlier this month AMIE said they're fed up with misinformation in the ongoing chicken war.

The Poultry Association wants to raise tariffs against imported birds to make sure they can compete in an industry that's seen thousands of job losses in the last year and a half.

AMIE said the industry's problems go deeper than just chickens imported from Brazil.

South Africans eat more than two and a half million chickens daily and 12 percent of the birds are imported.

The CEO of AMIE David Wolpert said the numbers have been hiked.

"These chicken wars have been raging for months now and we believe there has been lots of misinformation and innuendo hurled around."

Both sides said they were trying to protect the poor and the Poultry Association said tariffs are crucial to protect jobs in a struggling industry.

Wolpert said the public will be hit with massive price hikes of 30 to 50 percent across the board as baseline prices increase, rather than the 10 to 15 percent that producers estimate.