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DTI to approach Land Bank on poultry crisis

The local industry has been hit by a surge in imports from the EU and higher input costs.

Picture: freeimages.com.

CAPE TOWN – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking to the Land Bank to intervene in the deepening crisis in the poultry sector.

DTI officials today briefed Parliament’s Select Committee on Trade on the state of the industry, which has been hit by a surge in imports from the EU and higher input costs.

More than 1,000 workers have already been retrenched at Rainbow Chicken’s Hammarsdale Plant and unions are warning that many more jobs could be on the line.

The DTI’s Garth Strachan says the task team set up in November is looking at a range of measures to deal with the crisis.

“We’ve already been in touch with the Land Bank to bring them into one of the work streams with respect to the possibility whether there can’t be Land Bank intervention to support those farms that are being sold – whether the sale of those farms can’t support transformation and ensuring that those farms remain productive.”

Strachan warned that while hiking tariffs might protect the industry, it will drive up the price of chicken, which could threaten food security.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe this week suggested the government should buy up poultry farms facing closure and find new markets.

(Edited by Refilwe Pitjeng)