AS Broiler farmer and president of the South African Poultry Association (Sapa), I read with interest the article by Banele Ginindza “The reorganization of the poultry industry is now on track” (Business Report, June 30 ).
Even before the Poultry Industry Master Plan was signed 18 months ago, South African poultry farmers were focused on food security and creating thousands of jobs for South Africans. The growth and expansion of the industry is essential not only for us as individual farmers, or for the industry body that represents large and small producers, but also for South African consumers, who create the demand for affordable and popular protein.
So, as an industry, we applauded Minister Ebrahim Patel’s blueprint and dedication to finding solutions to the stubborn problems that have kept this industry from growing at the same rate as the demand for chicken. As the second largest industry in the agricultural sector, we are key to boosting the country’s economic growth, creating jobs in poultry, but also in grain production, transportation, packaging, pharmacy, infrastructure and more. .
We could do so much more if our markets were secure, in the same way that the EU takes strict measures to reserve market space for its own producers in order to strengthen their national economies. It just makes sense that we need to stop the unfair trade practices, banned by the World Trade Organization, that are hindering this growth. Examining the inefficient tariff structure, as called for by the master plan, is essential if we are to reach a place where fair imports can compete with our own locally produced chicken on a level playing field.
The resistance of irresponsible importers, who also signed the master plan and now aim to impede its progress, is infuriating and counterproductive. We have so many difficult challenges to overcome in South Africa; but providing affordable chicken to all of our people while creating jobs and raising taxes is achievable.
We would like to build on the process which has already created 4.7 billion rand growth and 1,298 new jobs, and we support Patel’s efforts, so that we can increase our contribution to the gross domestic product by 48 billion rand in 2019 to around R 54 billion in 2022. That makes sense for all of South Africa.
Aziz Sulliman is the President of the South African Poultry Association
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