ChickenFacts, affiliated with the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE), has sounded a clarion call for a strategic overhaul in South Africa’s poultry industry. The urgency for a revamped Poultry Master Plan echoes amidst tumultuous trade negotiations, economic challenges, and a critical need for enhanced food security.
“The Poultry Master Plan was announced in 2019 as a strategy to bring role players together to improve food security around chicken,” ChickenFacts highlighted in its latest newsletter. “A lot of grand ideas were put on the table – it was envisaged that by 2020 there would be real progress in the industry.”
The missive underscores the intricate interplay between international trade agreements and the local poultry sector, notably referencing the recent Agoa summit held in Johannesburg.
Conundrum of Agoa’s impact on SA poultry trade
“Agoa is important to the South African poultry industry in a tangential form: part of the reciprocity of trade depends on South Africa accepting a quota of rebated poultry imports from the US,” the ChickenFacts letter explained.
However, recent weeks have dealt severe blows to the nation’s agricultural backbone. Port disruptions, aggravated by a confluence of factors including a scorching heatwave and erratic power supply, have exacted a heavy toll on trade, costing millions. “Our ports have imploded, slowing down trade and costing millions,” ChickenFacts emphasised.
Adding to the complexity are geopolitical divergences between South African and US foreign policies, as highlighted by a Harvard University study pinpointing governmental challenges as a pivotal obstacle. This intricate web of factors has rendered the trajectory of Agoa negotiations increasingly uncertain.
“At this critical juncture, both Hume International’s Fred Hume and the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE)’s Paul Matthew are now saying, it is time for either a new Poultry Master Plan or a new way of doing things that involves closer collaboration,” ChickenFacts stressed.
“Our food security depends on it,” they emphasised, underscoring the pressing need for either a renewed Poultry Master Plan or an innovative approach steeped in enhanced collaboration among stakeholders.
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