SA a big loser as monopolies rule
EMBATTLED South African consumers shouldn’t be deceived by the cunning campaign conducted by the powerful poultry moguls in an attempt to restrict affordable imported poultry stock.
The giant poultry companies have cleverly managed to conscript the labour component and even a sizeable section of the public to support their cause by way of a fear-mongering threat of job losses.
Much as every job is precious in this country of high unemployment, consumers must not allow propaganda to cloud their judgement. They should carefully interrogate the facts concerning the so-called poultry industry implosion, and decide if they will be disadvantaged.
The really sceptical among us could even surmise that by temporarily sacrificing a few thousand jobs, sufficient pressure will be placed on the government to once again hike protective import duties and impose even more stringent import quotas. Such mercenary economic strategies have been a short-sighted business policy for decades and was at its zenith during the laager mentality of the apartheid era when that regime was attempting to battle effects of international trade sanctions.
There were short term protectionist gains which sparked some growth of local industry, but the long term effects were disastrous. The adverse effect was the SA economy became dominated by a select monopolistic all powerful giant cartels and corporations which increasingly didn’t know how to compete with international competition.
That monopolistic situation lin- gers today. The current poultry industry is also in the hands of a few giant operators.
The ruinous solution of most conglomerates to any decline in business or loss of profits is to increase prices or to wield the axe and cull staff in huge cost cutting swathes. They refuse to search for other less destructive solutions like creatively increasing efficiency levels or improving wasteful systems because there was no international competition due to all the trade protections.
But consequently, inflation soars as prices increase to record levels and the South African consumer is the ultimate loser. South Africans shouldn’t be deceived. They should look closely at how prices of poultry have soared since government were pressured into imposing the import duties.
A few years ago poultry white meat was a healthier great alternative to the extremely pricey red meat. That was until it became injected with litres of unhealthy brine to inflate the weight of the bird and prices, and protective import duties kicked in.
A full bird that a few years ago retailed in the region of R30 has now rocketed to well over R70. In saving the few precious jobs, do we really want a situation whereby chicken is only affordable to the very rich?
The poultry moguls are not prepared to open their books so we can see the true financial viability of their companies. South African consumers gullibly accept tariff duties and import quotas at the country’s economic peril. Jean Le Palisseur
Chicken is only affordable to the very rich