From the Desk An in­dus­try in the spot­light

The Poultry Bulletin - - CONTENTS -

The me­dia ex­po­sure of our broiler in­dus­try in par­tic­u­lar, and the in­dus­try in more gen­eral terms, has con­tin­ued. Pre­sen­ta­tions to Par­lia­ment by the dti have been made; mul­ti­ple press, ra­dio and TV in­ter­views have been read, heard and seen; and the FAWU- led pub­lic marches have been well cov­ered. By the time you read this, the dti-led poul­try task team will have met again. We were also able to present our case to ITAC as to why the safe­guard against the EU should be higher. Much work is still to be done be­fore the fi­nal de­ci­sion is made hope­fully within the next two months.

The end of Jan­uary meant the end of the road for over 1300 em­ploy­ees of RCL - work­ers and man­age­ment. Now, while we’ve lost many more em­ploy­ees than 1 300 in the last few years, it has never been so many at one time, and not per­haps in such a pub­lic way. As men­tioned be­fore, it isn’t only the work­ers who’ve gone but many of the farms as well. For those who know the area, the Mpumalanga town­ship in Ham­mars­dale has had a tor­tured his­tory for decades. The EU has added more suf­fer­ing to the lives of the peo­ple who call Mpumalanga home. I can’t see chicken pro­duc­tion com­ing back to the area, other than what still re­mains that is, but I re­ally hope that some other in­dus­tries will be en­cour­aged to move there to com­pen­sate for the RCL job losses.


Fi­nal im­port num­bers for 2016 were 560 000 tonnes of all poul­try prod­ucts, and 240 000 tonnes of bone-in por­tions. This means that to­tal im­ports are about 1 and 1/3 the size of our largest pro­ducer, As­tral, and bone-in im­ports are larger than the to­tal pro­duc­tion of our third largest pro­ducer, CBH. Not small by any means, with R 5,5 bil­lion in to­tal im­ports at the free on board level and bone-in por­tion im­ports of R 3,6 bil­lion at the free on board level. Add freight, other lo­gis­tics costs and mar­gins, and we’re talk­ing about R7 bil­lion plus in­dus­try. So the next time some­one tells you that we’re giv­ing the small im­port in­dus­try a hard time, please re­mind them how big the im­port in­dus­try ac­tu­ally is.

AMIE have called for Par­lia­ment to in­ves­ti­gate our in­dus­try, and should Par­lia­ment agree to this

re­quest, we’ll surely also have an op­por­tu­nity to present our side of the story. It strikes me as odd that AMIE wants South Africa to be­lieve that they can only be suc­cess­ful if they have ac­cess to dumped prod­ucts. Surely they’re bet­ter busi­nesses than that? ITAC have demon­strated that they’re re­luc­tant to ap­ply puni­tive du­ties of what­ever type, so all AMIE mem­bers have to do is suc­ceed on a level play­ing field. Maybe that’s too hard for them.

Gov­ern­ment has clearly ac­knowl­edged that we have a cri­sis - and no longer sim­ply prob­lems. You might ask why it’s taken so long? Well the an­swer is quite clear: gov­ern­ments all around the world don’t have the re­sources to tackle all of the prob­lems they face, but they are able to al­lo­cate re­sources to deal with a cri­sis. That’s where we are now in the process.

Much of the me­dia is re­flect­ing a rel­a­tively bal­anced as­sess­ment of the in­dus­try, although the mis­con­cep­tions around ef­fi­ciency still pre­vail. The sim­ple truth is that most of the harm we’re cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing comes from EU ex­ports of bone-in por­tions. Now, we can pro­duce slaugh­tered whole birds for less per kilo­gramme than any of the EU coun­tries that are sur­veyed by the Univer­sity of Wa­genin­gen, so it should be pretty ob­vi­ous that we’re more eco­nom­i­cally ef­fi­cient farm­ers than those in the EU. Per­haps this isn’t ob­vi­ous enough to some in the me­dia, or some com­men­ta­tors and economists who have a lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of the sec­tor and the is­sues at hand. Our is­sue is mainly that coun­tries dump their sur­plus and their waste on us. In fact, al­most noth­ing that comes here is made for South Africa, with only about 3% be­ing what would nor­mally be seen as prime prod­ucts, namely whole birds and breast meat. The rest is stuff that peo­ple don’t want to eat in the coun­try of man­u­fac­ture.

An­other is­sue I find strange - and that the me­dia doesn’t ac­knowl­edge - is the ques­tion of the rule of law. The USA has been de­ter­mined by ITAC to be a dumper of bone-in por­tions, as it has by the Mex­i­can and Chi­nese trade au­thor­i­ties. Un­til such time as these rul­ings are over­turned by a lo­cal court in any of the coun­tries or by the WTO (who did rule against the way that China ap­proached its in­ves­ti­ga­tion, not against the dump­ing find­ing it­self and which in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been cor­rected by China), the USA re­mains a dumper. In fact, in the AGOA deal, the whole idea was to al­low the USA to dump an agreed quota of bone-in por­tions. The EU, or to be more spe­cific the three big­gest ex­porters from the EU at the time, were found by ITAC to be dumpers. ITAC also found that Brazil was dump­ing whole birds and breast meat a few years ago, although no du­ties were en­acted; the MFN tar­iff was in­creased in­stead. All this means is that if you be­lieve ITAC is wrong, you should take the de­ci­sion on re­view. Ei­ther that or be hon­est and ac­cept that you are a dumper. There might be some peo­ple who still think Os­car Pistorius isn’t guilty of mur­der, but all the Courts in the land have de­ter­mined that he is. That’s how law works. That’s what the rule of law means: re­spect those de­ci­sions, don’t deny them and be dis­hon­est, which is what the EU seems to think is the right thing to do. Odd, wouldn’t you say?

The HPAI bans against the seven EU coun­tries con­tinue, with wild bird cases re­ported in Spain and the Repub­lic of Ire­land, mean­ing that the threat of fur­ther spread in poul­try re­mains high. In fact, the EU free range pro­duc­ers sit with a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion at the time of writ­ing as they’re about to reach the 12 week limit on bird con­fine­ment. Af­ter

this, they may no longer sell their prod­ucts as free range. Hope­fully, they’ll be granted an ex­emp­tion by Brus­sels as the con­fine­ment is for good rea­son, namely to re­duce the risk of fur­ther dis­ease spread.

Statu­tory levy

We’ve sub­mit­ted the levy sur­plus trust ap­pli­ca­tion to the NAMC and they’re pro­cess­ing it. We’ll keep you up­dated as to progress.

Our statu­tory levy ap­pli­ca­tion for the egg in­dus­try has also gone to the NAMC, even though there are a few is­sues on the col­lec­tion point not well re­solved. As there are mul­ti­ple voices within the egg in­dus­try on the need for, and ben­e­fits of, a levy for the in­dus­try, we ask that all of you in favour of a levy let the NAMC know when they call for in­puts. It won’t help if only those op­posed to shared and eq­ui­table fund­ing of the in­dus­try body raise ob­jec­tions while the voices of those in favour aren’t heard. Once the OIE wel­fare stan­dards for lay­ers are approved, I fore­see quite some pres­sure be­ing brought to bear on lo­cal egg pro­duc­ers. The time to pre­pare is now.


Avi Africa plan­ning con­tin­ues and a draft pro­gramme is now ready for those who’d like to see it. There are, at the time of writ­ing, still some ex­hi­bi­tion stands avail­able for hire and early dis­counted reg­is­tra­tions are now open. Please take ad­van­tage of this op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in the re­gional poul­try in­dus­try.

We’ve met with the Na­tional Re­search Foun­da­tion (NRF) to see if fund­ing for the Re­search Chair in Poul­try Health and Pro­duc­tion that SAPA es­tab­lished four years ago can be sourced. Our com­mit­ment to fund­ing the Chair ex­pires this year, and we’d be fool­ish as an in­dus­try and a coun­try not to con­tinue with the work that the Chair and her stu­dents have done and con­tinue to do. If we want to stay at the top of the farm­ing ef­fi­ciency stakes, lo­cal so­lu­tions to lo­cal prob­lems con­tinue to be needed.

Re­lated news is that the calls for fill­ing the Re­search Chair in San­i­tary Risk Anal­y­sis have gone out, with a dead­line for sub­mis­sions by end March. This Chair will be funded by the Depart­ment of Sci­ence→

and Tech­nol­ogy, the NRF and DAFF, with in­dus­tries con­tribut­ing to re­search costs. We need en­hanced SPS and gen­eral risk anal­y­sis ca­pac­ity in the coun­try within the state sys­tem and in the pri­vate sec­tor if we are to main­tain and im­prove safety stan­dards for lo­cal con­sump­tion as well as be­ing able to ac­cess some ex­port mar­kets.

Ziyanda is hard at work de­vel­op­ing a PDMA busi­ness plan for sub­mis­sion to the Board, and Char­lotte and I have met with her to dis­cuss this work. As she is ex­pected to drive this ini­tia­tive, we ex­pect her to ex­plain to us what it is that should be done. This is a great op­por­tu­nity to fur­ther de­velop the PDMA as well as quite a bit of pres­sure on her to hit the ground run­ning, so to speak. Please let her know what your ideas and ex­pec­ta­tions are for the PDMA so that she has as wide a set of views as pos­si­ble to con­sider as she de­vel­ops the busi­ness plan.

A planned ex­port visit to the Mid­dle East was called off at the last mo­ment. Work­ing with the In­ter­na­tional Poul­try Coun­cil on some of these is­sues, it’s clear that even the big ex­porters such as Brazil, the US and the EU find it dif­fi­cult to in­ter­pret the re­quire­ments of some Mid­dle East­ern mar­kets. As these mar­kets are likely to re­main, if not grow, we need to be able to com­fort­ably sat­isfy the im­port re­quire­ments. By com­par­i­son, mar­kets in Africa could di­min­ish as lo­cal pro­duc­tion rises. That’s what Africa wants any­way.

I met with one of the QSR com­pa­nies (fast food restau­rants) last month to dis­cuss gen­eral is­sues and also to ex­plore how they could join SAPA as as­so­ciate mem­bers. I’m still strug­gling to un­der­stand what ben­e­fit we can of­fer to as­so­ciate mem­bers and ask that any reader who can help me with my un­cer­tainty give me a call to try to clear the fog.

Our an­nual au­dit is un­der­way at present and so far no is­sues have come to the fore. In terms of our new con­sti­tu­tion, we have to find an­other au­dit­ing firm for 2017. A sub-com­mit­tee of the Board has been set up to select new au­di­tors. Changes to the reg­u­la­tions around the use of au­dit firms re­quire that com­pul­sory ro­ta­tion of au­di­tors is needed. We’ve been happy with the ser­vices of the cur­rent au­di­tors, BDO, and the ro­ta­tion should not be seen as a com­ment on the qual­ity of their ser­vices to us.


Char­lotte con­tin­ues to work on the Tsh­wane fresh mar­ket pro­cess­ing project. There’s still some ad­min­is­tra­tive work to be done to en­sure that the GDARD funds we have are prop­erly utilised, but all in­di­ca­tions are that the project will be ready in a few months.

I at­tended the Gaut­eng gov­ern­ment’s West Rand De­vel­op­ment Fo­rum last month in the pres­ence of al­most the en­tire Gaut­eng gov­ern­ment cab­i­net. Apart from the in­ter­ac­tions with farm­ers, I was able to broach the sub­ject of eggs in school feed­ing schemes with MEC Le­sufi. He ex­pressed an in­ter­est in fol­low­ing up on the idea and I hope that Gaut­eng will be the sec­ond province in the coun­try (af­ter KZN) to add eggs to their school feed­ing pro­grammes.

There’s a Cana­dian sys­tem of egg sex­ing which is ap­par­ently close to mar­ket and which I will be dis­cussing with the Cana­di­ans at the up­com­ing IEC meet­ing in April. This will al­low all layer hatch­eries to hatch only fe­male eggs and per­haps use the male eggs for vac­cine pro­duc­tion. The de­vel­op­ment of this tech­nique, which is based on dif­fer­ent light wave­length sen­sors, has been quite slow and we don’t yet know what the cost of its use will be. Well, it now seems as if there are other ap­proaches to solv­ing the prob­lem that could be com­ing to South Africa. I have had ini­tial dis­cus­sions with the lo­cal sup­plier of this al­ter­nate ap­proach and, if it works and costs as lit­tle as claimed, it could be a good so­lu­tion for all layer and broiler farm­ers as it can sex broiler eggs as eas­ily as layer eggs. The killing of male chicks in the layer in­dus­try is a great en­vi­ron­men­tal cost and also a con­sid­er­able rep­u­ta­tional prob­lem. Af­ford­able so­lu­tions are to be wel­comed.

I was un­able to at­tend the As­tral awards cer­e­mony last year as I was trav­el­ling abroad at the time and so at­tended a smaller ver­sion of the cer­e­mony last month at which func­tion I was hon­oured by As­tral for what they con­sid­ered to be ‘go­ing the ex­tra mile’. I am deeply ap­pre­cia­tive of the recog­ni­tion.

Re­gards un­til next month, Kevin Lovell, CEO.¡

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