LETTER: Lay off chicken farmers
Peter Bruce’s attacks on local producers are unfounded as there is no fair foreign competition
Why does Peter Bruce have so much scorn for the chicken industry? Two articles in one week defending imported chicken and calling local chicken farmers everything from lazy to inefficient! (“Poor chicken industry, from a sweet to a sweat spot”, March 3, and “Forget about thriving export industries while protecting plodding companies”, March 10).
It’s hard not to take offence when the effects of dumping on our local markets can be felt so clearly, and when farmers like myself are putting in so much effort to create a sustainable livelihood for ourselves.
Bruce is right when he says imports are competition — and I know I speak for many chicken farmers when I say we are not afraid of fair competition, where everyone plays by the rules. If only that was the case. Brazil and Europe have built their industries on overproduction because they have cornered markets such as Africa, where they can get rid of what is left over after they’ve made their profits.
Bruce states that “you cannot import-duty or subsidise your way to growth”, but surely he knows my competition in those countries that are dumping their extra unwanted chicken offcuts in SA are virtually all subsidised and protected by their governments? Yet if we call for protection that somehow makes us lazy?
I have received invaluable support and mentorship from within the local industry, which has helped me grow my hatchery from a small backyard operation to delivering 41,000 chicks per week and growing. This is enabling me to create work and make a contribution to the local economy here in Limpopo. I have ambitious plans to keep expanding, and it is disheartening that people like Bruce and the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters would rather see supermarket shelves full of Brazilian chicken.
Can we please see some support for local producers from those people who have the power and the platforms to change minds?
KC Hatchery, Louis Trichardt
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