Blaming chicken imports for the woes of the local poultry industry is "laughable", says the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE). The sector has retrenched hundreds of workers, blaming this on an influx of cheap chicken imports from the EU and other regions. The local industry and unions argue that the EU is selling chicken legs, thighs and wings below cost and have called on the government to intervene. But the EU has said its farmers are simply more competitive than their counterparts in SA. In February, RCL Foods — formerly known as Rainbow Chicken — retrenched 1,350 workers. Earlier in March, Country Bird confirmed it would close its facility in Mahikeng in the North West "in the absence of increased government protection against imports". AMIE, which is due to ask Parliament on Thursday to investigate the root cause of job losses in the local poultry sector, said the reasons for the retrenchments were in dispute. "The only undisputed fact is that local poultry is ...

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