LETTER: Let farmers feed our people with home-grown chicken
It is not fair to expect SA chicken farmers to compete with overseas producers who are subsidised by their governments
As a contract grower who owns a farm with 130,000 chickens and leases a second broiler farm near Lanseria, Gauteng, I welcome the move by the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) to apply for antidumping tariffs against Brazil and four European countries.
It is shocking that these countries sell their chicken to SA at a price much lower than they would sell the same chicken in their own countries, and much lower than what it costs to get a chicken from day-old chick to slaughter size.
It is not fair to expect SA chicken farmers to compete with overseas producers who are subsidised by their governments. Why is that even allowed in a country where we have such high unemployment, and a slow pace of entry of previously disadvantaged individuals into commercial farming? Our focus must be the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan and its commitments, as undertaken by the industry players who signed this plan.
At Phetogo we employ 24 people, with 12 extra seasonal workers every cycle; all from families who depend on the survival of the chicken industry. As a contract grower, we are working hard to produce quality birds for our market, but if the general demand declines because the market is full of cheap chicken from Europe, my family and the families of our employees will eventually also suffer the consequences.
I hope the International Trade Administration Commission will approve the tariffs Sapa has applied for, to stop the artificially low-priced imported chicken. Let SA farmers like me feed our people with home-grown chicken. As we do that we will continue to reinvest our returns into this sector, which will lead to growth not only in our industry but also the grain sector and others.
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