Controversy has emerged about a potential deal to export South African chicken feet to China. Some industry leaders assert no formal agreement exists, while others claim proof to the contrary.
Carla Kote, chief executive officer of AskCarlaKote, confirmed to Food For Mzansi that there is a done and signed deal where female poultry farmers in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga in particular would benefit from 540 tons of chicken feet to be exported to China.
Meanwhile, Izaak Breitenbach of the South African Poultry Association said to his knowledge there is no negotiated import or export license with China and he does not know how the export will take place.
Meeting all the requirements key
The spokesperson for the department of agriculture, rural development and land reform, Reggie Ngcobo, said as long as the exporter has the permit, the veterinarian has certified the safety of the product, and the receiving country is happy that the product meet the requirements, all is in order.
Kote said the deal is going ahead and they are expecting the first trial shipment to be sent to the acquired market in China by the end of the year.
“We know that there is no export and import license with China yet, but there is a contract existing that we will be supplying to China. We did a presentation to the client and flew to China in November last year. The presentation we did and the ecosystem that we have created throughout the process involving the avian flu, to date, the ecosystem has still not had a single case of avian flu.
“I think that gave China the confidence to understand that if we are not able to prevent it, we are at least able to act fast enough to contain it,” she said.
Supplying a new market
Kote said she is not worried about avian flu or the capacity of meeting the target as she believes they have done their research and visibility study.
“Five years is the length of time that we have secured and my client is fully aware and is pro-efficient with the process to grow and meet the demand that they have. And they understand what it means to transform an industry to a new market.
“We connected with farmers who have the volume we are looking for, more like a math equation, and they helped us calculate that we would reach our turnover through them. These farmers happened to be predominantly female farmers,” she said.
Benefits across the value chain
According to Kote, this opportunity is going to commercialise many female farmers because a year from now, if they do things right, they will no longer be subsistence farmers but fully-fledged commercial farmers.
“The job creation is not only limited to the poultry industry because it will run across the value chain. To move 540 tons, you need transportation, you need packaging, you need feed, layers, growers, boilers, you need cold stores, and you need port improvement. The whole sector is affected, and this deal also touches others.
“It is a massive project and we have been in communication with our client, and it is been very clear that we are not starting with shipping tomorrow, that is not the idea,” she said.
According to Kote, they connected with farmers who have the volume they are looking for who are predominantly women.
A Wesgro spokesperson, said they can confirm a solid, signed commercial contract between AskCarlaKote and a Chinese buyer, with the initial introduction facilitated by Wesgro.
Potential for growth in poultry industry
“Currently, the final regulatory processes are in progress to formalise and implement this commercial deal. Given the substantial scale of the deal, various matters to give effect to the deal are being addressed, including amongst others, the resolution of logistics and the development of the cold storage value chain.
“It is important to recognise that a deal of this nature has the potential to act as a catalyst for opening new areas of trade between countries,” the company said.
Wesgro added that the deal holds enormous potential for South African poultry farmers. “Strong demand in China for chicken feet and expanding export opportunities in various markets signify South African poultry industry’s potential for significant growth,” he said.
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