SOUTH AFRICA - The government is working to help the embattled poultry sector break into new export markets and become more competitive, a conference heard last week.
The local industry exports only about 1.5 per cent of its production, mainly to neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, producers recently benefited from tariff protection against cheap imports from Brazil, reports BusinessDay. The sector has also applied for protection from "dumped" chicken from Europe.
The industry, which says it has lost 10 small producers to liquidations and takeovers in recent months, has attributed much of its woes to feed costs, cheap imports and weak consumer demand.
Speaking at the annual AVI Africa poultry sector conference, Imameleng Mothebe, a director of industrial development at the Department of Trade and Industry, said the initial focus area for export opportunities was the Middle East. The department was working on a five-year "action plan" that would tackle SA’s "capability to export our products, particularly in terms of health and safety-related issues".
Ms Mothebe said regulations needed by each targeted export market were being assessed. "Engagements are ongoing with our representatives in the various countries in the Middle East to assist us to fast-track the issues around the acceptance of our standards and certifications," she said.
Other target markets included Angola, which imported much of its bulk poultry from Brazil. The country could be a market for niche poultry products.
"We want to ensure that at least in the short to medium term we are in a position to open one or two markets," Ms Mothebe said. The department also wanted to ensure that "the industry is geared up to take up those opportunities".
In the long term, trade and industry was looking to open up other export opportunities, including in Iraq, Venezuela, Ghana and Japan.
Initial efforts would be on broiler meat exports, but opportunities to export eggs were being looked at, Ms Mothebe said. The initial analysis showed possible markets in Iraq, Ukraine and Senegal.
South African Poultry Association CEO Kevin Lovell said on Wednesday (11 June) it was working with the trade and industry and the agriculture departments, assessing the veterinary protocols for exports. The Middle East market would be "sustainable" as it could not supply its own needs.
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