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In his latest article, Bekezela Phakathi repeats the erroneous claim that chicken prices have risen 10% a year, for a decade (“Patel shoots down calls for suspension of poultry tariffs,” May 22). Worse, it is stated as fact.

Yet official statistics and calculations by the SA Poultry Association have shown that neither retail nor producer prices of chickens rose 10% a year from 2011 to 2021, the period to which the claim refers. This is true across a range of chicken products, both fresh and frozen.

While 10% increases have been noted in some years for some products, it is simply not true that this has happened consistently across the board for 10 years, as chicken importers have been claiming. They are wrong, and Business Day should not compound the error.

In some years, increases were 1% or less. And prices don’t always go up. In 2018/2019 the producer price of individually quick frozen (IQF) mixed portions declined 2.7%. This is the most popular purchase for lower-income consumers. The retail price that year for 2kg IQF bags was 1.5% below the previous year. In 2017/2018 the average producer price for fresh chickens dropped 0.9%.

Chicken prices are rising now as a result of sharp increases in feed and fuel costs because of the economic effects of the war in Ukraine. However, actual price data for the previous decade clearly shows that poultry producers have done their best to keep prices low, despite regular spikes in input costs.

Francois Baird, Founder, FairPlay

JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to letters@businesslive.co.za. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.


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