CAPE TOWN, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies says market conditions in South Africa’s poultry industry appear to be improving and there has not been any further poultry farm closure or job lay-offs in recent times following earlier concerns that the sector is threatened by dumping of poultry products by the European Union and the United States.

Answering questions at the National Assembly here Wednesday, he said the work of the Trade and Industry Department’s poultry task force was ongoing. The task team is led by the department and includes the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Industrial Development Corporation and representatives of the poultry industry.

The collaborative effort between government and stakeholders is, however, limited to the work of this task team and the government is actively engaging as many stakeholders as possible, including importers of poultry products. Market conditions in the poultry sector have improved somewhat and no further production facility closures or layoffs that government is aware of have taken place, he said.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said earlier this year that the government was, through various task teams, implementing intervention measures to avoid job losses in the poultry industry. He said the government would deploy incentives and other support measures to protect the industry to maintain production capabilities, save jobs as well as to ensure food security.

Last month, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said his department was on a drive to re-open farms which had shut down because of market challenges. Some of the interventions included government departments setting aside 30 percent in procurement of goods and services for institutions like hospitals and correctional centres to buy directly from local farmers.

Davies said: Government will deploy a full suite of policy interventions in collaboration with the private sector to protect the domestic poultry industry to ensure that the interests of consumers, especially the low-income earners, for whom chicken is an important part of the protein, are protected to prevent job losses and factory closures and at the same time supporting the private sector, to become more competitive where there is room to do so.

The work to enable risk-free application of local procurement of poultry products is near to finalisation. It should be noted, however, that while poultry products are not designated for local content or production at present, the DTI has invoked regulation 8.4 of the 2017 preferential procurement regulation to support local procurement of poultry products.”


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