US, importers partner to aid SA poultry farms
THE US Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) is working with the government to introduce previously disadvantaged communities into the poultry industry.
The USAPEEC said it had partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Daff), and the Department of Trade and Industry (Dti) on an importer programme that would benefit mainly black poultry farmers in South Africa.
USAPEEC Africa regional director Zelda Sharp said the programme would enable the locals to benefit from imports of US bone-in chicken portions, which started two years ago under the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa).
Sharp said USAPEEC representatives met potential local producers and explored opportunities in the beleaguered domestic market.
US chicken, turkey, duck and egg producers were offered the opportunity to “discover” South Africa and meet HDIs joining the importer programme.
“As part of our promise,” said Sharp, “we trained 32 potential HDIs in 2016.
“This allowed us to discuss the import process in full, from obtaining permits, brokering deals, meeting importers, working with clearing agents and cold storage facilities to finance options.”
She said after the initial training, eight HDIs were sent to the US by the US embassy as part of their development programme.
“The training included meeting with exporters, visiting the US government, understanding US processes and systems, learning about AI (avian influenza) and regionalisation etc.”
According to the Agoa agreement, US chicken import quotas were limited to 65 000 tons a year.
“The Agoa agreement agreed to allocate 50 percent of the 65 000 tons to the HDIs and 50 percent to the traditional importers and Daff continue to use this model today,” said Sharp.
When the first imports of US products started in 2016 there were 23 HDIs.
“Today there are 50 companies, so the numbers have increased, but this has also decreased the allocations given to HDIs, making it more challenging to establish an import business when your monthly allocations are reduced.”
Sharp said they continued working with Daff, dti, and the US embassy on the quota allocation and helped HDIs with market information to help them develop.
Dti Minister Rob Davies’ spokesperson, Sidwell Medupe, referred questions to Daff, saying it was their mandate to allocate quotas.
Daff Minister Senzeni Zokwana and his spokesperson Bomikazi Molapo were not immediately available for comment.
USAPEEC president Jim Sumner said US poultry imports to South Africa totalled less than 3 percent of the South African chicken consumption and therefore didn’t make a significant impact on the market, but provided consumers with more choices.
He said US imports should not be considered as unfair competition to local production as they faced import duties amounting to 37 percent, in addition to the cost of shipping the meat from the US.
“They provide reasonably-priced options of an exceptionally high quality product that’s the same poultry consumed in the US.”
Poultry being processed at a Rainbow Chicken and Country Bird holdings plant. Luyolo Mkentane