Poultry industry plays last card
With the poultry industry in crisis, the big players have applied for a review of import duties on US poultry products.
The S A Poultry Association, RCL Foods and Afgri Poultry have asked the International Trade Administration Commission of S A to review the duties .
There were devastating retrenchments at KwaZulu-Natal poultry farms in January. RCL Foods, formerly Rainbow Chickens, said it had to sell 15 of its 25 Hammarsdale poultry farms.
The anti-dumping duties on US poultry products expires tomorrow and the review is expected to take up to 18 months.
Kevin Lovell, CEO of the SA Poultry Association, said producers hoped the anti-dumping duties on US bone-in imports, in place since 2000, would remain.
The commission imposed a provisional duty of 13.9% on bone-in chicken portions from the EU last year.
In their application to the commission, the Poultry Association, RCL Foods and Afgri Poultry said that, should the duties be removed, there would be a decline in sales, output, market share and productivity, and an increase in unemployment.
Commission spokesman Thalukanyo Nangammbi said: "Once a review is initiated the anti-dumping duties remain in place until the end of the review."
Lovell said: "The ideal outcome is that it is renewed for another five years.
"The EU produces a whole chicken for more than we do, but sells the pieces for less. If there were fair trade, there would be no poultry from Europe."
AgriSA chief economist Hamlet Hlomendlini said poultry farmers claim about 20000 jobs have been lost because of dumping.
"The government needs to intervene. Something needs to be done to protect and enhance the competitive nature of our poultry industry."