Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

The SA Poultry Association (Sapa) notes with concern the claims made by Francisco Turro, CEO of the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (Setting the record straight on Brazil’s chicken exports, April 2). He calls local efforts to preserve a crucial SA industry “offensive coming from a partner nation” and accuses the local industry of spreading lies and disinformation, when his own version of the truth is highly contestable.

Turro states than it was “proven that Brazilian producers did not practise dumping”, when in fact the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) found enough evidence in 2012 that it imposed anti-dumping duties. When Brazil challenged this, the case was not “dropped” as he claims; instead, a decision was taken for precisely the reason of neighbourliness with a partner nation not to pursue anti-dumping duties, but to opt for a most favoured nation (MFN) duty instead.

In the intervening years, Brazil has been taking advantage in a most unneighbourly fashion, ramping up exports to the point that 61% of all chicken imports now come from Brazil, selling at prices Sapa believes to be between 100% and 190% lower than it charges other countries.

If that is not dumping, Turro might want to explain what is.

He further claims Brazilian “producers are not dumping product that competes with local competitors” — seemingly admitting that dumping does take place, but only where it doesn’t matter. But dumping does matter. It matters because dumping prevents expansion, inhibits job creation and stops emerging farmers from entering the market and becoming landowners.

The recent Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy competitiveness study proved that SA has a globally efficient industry, yet Brazilian chicken floods our market in such volumes that it exceeds the production of even the biggest local producer.

This is not “complementing local demand” — it is doing material damage to an industry that is a significant provider of employment and food security in SA. Above all, this is not how partners conduct themselves.

Izaak Breitenbach
GM, Sapa Broiler Organisation