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Poultry industry urges govt to act on ‘dumping’

Local producers claim the European Union, the US and Brazil are dumping chicken legs and wings that they can’t sell in the west.

Chicken. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

CAPE TOWN – Problems with the poultry industry lie deeper than cheap imported chicken, Members of Parliament have been told.

Parliament’s Trade and Industry Committee has been hearing from industry players, unions and the government on the crisis-torn sector, which has been shedding jobs at an alarming rate.

Local producers claim the European Union, the US and Brazil are dumping chicken legs and wings that they can’t sell in the west, where breast meat is the preferred choice.

They’ve urged strong action by the government.

The South African Poultry Association’s Keith Lovell says producers can’t compete against high volumes of heavily subsidised, cheap chicken imports.

“We need action against dumping to survive.”

Country Birds Chief Executive Officer Marthinus Stander said: “So we cannot compete with that sheer number, it is absolutely killing us”.

But the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters says imports aren’t the problem and is calling for a full review of the industry.

“We cannot compete with that sheer number, it is absolutely killing us.”

The Department of Trade and Industry says imposing higher tariffs on chicken imports could hit consumers hard and threaten food security, but it also says the poultry industry is in crisis and needs a range of measures.