Progress has been made on the implementation of the Poultry Master Plan, in spite of a decline in chicken consumption during the initial lockdown period, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has said.

Over the course of the past 12 months, a new tariff was introduced on imported poultry which provides greater protection for local producers and which assisted in one-million additional chickens being produced locally every week since the new duty structure.

In all, 145 300 t a month of poultry is now being produced by local firms.

Additionally, R1.1-billion was invested in upgrading and improving the efficiency of facilities in an attempt to expand the capacity of the sector, 930 new jobs were created as a result, and transformation is being facilitated through support programmes for black farmers, with 13 new contract farmers assisted with feed and chicks from producers.

The South African Poultry Association (Sapa) noted in a December 8 release that the poultry industry had invested heavily in the master plan this year, with R1.1-billion invested to grow production capacity by 5% or about one-million birds a week for slaughter.

“Transformation was high on the agenda and 13 new farmers established their own contract farms with assistance for inputs like feed and chicks from the producers. 2021 will be the year of delivery in terms of the master plan where increased local production and consumption is envisaged,” said Sapa’s Isaak Breitenbach.

The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) also noted its commitment to improving the value of South African trade and participation in the global economy.

“The association is committed to not only the Poultry Master Plan but also the deliverables required. Part of the backbone of those deliverables is ensuring the growth of the exportmarket. It is pleasing to note the increase in local production; the benefits to the consumer can only be realized if all the Poultry Master Plan objectives are delivered,” said AMIE’s Paul Matthews.

Grain producers supported efforts to grow the industry, while soybean producers, in particular, intended to increase hectares by 11.5% this season. Through Grain SA’s developing farmer programme, it has also helped 26 new developing farmers to plant soybeans on more or less 1 200 ha across the country.

“It shows that the strategies of government [the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition’s Soybean Strategy] and the various efforts of the industry are bearing fruit and will increase soybean production even further in future. 

“Ït is [also] expected that maize hectares will increase by 5.2% from last year,” said Grain SA’s Corne Louw.

The master plan was also supported by the black farmer association and the trade union movement.

Further, the first ten months of the year also saw poultry imports decline by 17%.

During a meeting co-chaired by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel and Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza this week, industry stakeholders committed to increasing their efforts in 2021, and the meeting attendees agreed to launch a ‘buy local chicken, eat South African poultry’ campaign over the December holiday period.

Further, the industry has strategically prioritised the European Union, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar as well as other African countries, taking advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), with some African countries are already exporting pre-cooked meat to the Middle East.

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