Good rains in many parts of the country have lifted the agricultural outlook for 2019 somewhat. However, a healthy farming sector depends on much more than favourable production conditions. Far from the fields and the farms, the outcome of the SA Poultry Association’s (Sapa's) application for higher import tariffs on chicken portions currently being reviewed by International Trade Administration Commission (Itac), will have a major effect on the local agricultural sector as a whole, and is also backed by the Animal Feed Manufacturers Association (Afma). The Sapa application advocates for more than a fair division of market share between locally produced and imported meat; it fights for the wellbeing of an entire value chain. The feed link in this chain illustrates the point. Every locally produced chicken that ends up for sale has eaten about 3kg of feed along its journey from broiler to reaching slaughter weight. Multiply that by 988-million — the approximate number of birds produc...

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