Until a year or two ago, the chicken industry was the largest agricultural sector in SA. It was also the most important market for maize, as animal feed. The total value of production in the local chicken industry is estimated to be R51bn a year and it consumes two-thirds of the 6.5-million tonnes of animal feed every year. The decline in the chicken industry has far-reaching negative implications and directly damages the grain farmers’ market. Growth in the local broiler market started slowing drastically about three years ago as a confluence of factors contributed to put pressure on profitability and shrinking of production. Rainbow Chickens dominated the broiler market for years, but has changed its name and is disinvesting from the chicken industry. One of the most important factors contributing to the pressure on the broiler market in particular is the enormous volumes of below-cost chicken pieces that are being imported as importers strive to force the local industry to its kn...

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