US, im­porters part­ner to aid SA poul­try farms

The Sunday Independent - - Business Report -

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

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