Paul Matthew is at it again — let’s flood the chicken market with imports because local producers can save their industry through exports (“Expansion into export market is vital to poultry master plan”, January 28). 

He should know the sums don’t add up. While increased exports are an important objective, SA cannot export enough to make up for the huge volumes of imported chicken, especially predatory imports. Matthew knows chicken exports to the EU are hampered not by the industry but by EU regulations and a serious shortage of SA government veterinary resources. 

Perhaps more importantly, Matthew will also know that a new anti-dumping application by the local industry is imminent. The industry has said it has evidence of dumping by Brazil and four EU countries. If that application is granted it would restrict chicken imports from these countries. 

This potential loss of profits is concentrating the minds of chicken importers, who have benefited hugely from massive increases in chicken imports over the past two decades. So, in the months to come we can expect the usual regurgitation of anti-tariff noise, all of which has been thoroughly debunked, denigrating the local chicken industry — uncompetitive, oligopolies, protectionism, a lack of export focus, imports are needed to meet local demand, and so on.

The facts, as FairPlay regularly points out, are that predatory imports have suppressed the local industry and killed thousands of SA jobs. The poultry sector master plan aims to constrain imports and encourage expansion and job creation to supply both local and export markets.  

As a master plan supporter, Matthew should back import limitations while explaining what his association has achieved in expanding SA chicken exports. He has been strangely silent on that front. 

Francois Baird 
Founder, FairPlay 

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