The Afasa Poultry Producers National Poultry Task Team (APP-NPTT), a new representative body created by poultry farmer members of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) is set to ensure a seat at the table for black farmers in the poultry industry.
The body aims to ensure that its members are included in important transformation discussions.
The NPTT plans to engage with all industry stakeholders to ensure transformation of the poultry sector, equal opportunities for black farmers and enhanced equity ownership by black farmers of the poultry value chain, the organisation states in a press release.
Black smallholder farmers have been overlooked in the past, Afasa says, and through the NPTT the farmers organisation hopes that this will no longer be an issue.
Interim secretary of the NPTT, Kobedi Pilane, believes that black smallholder poultry producers have always been left out of important discussions that directly impacts their livelihoods. Furthermore, despite billions of rands made available by government over the years to revolutionise the sector, little progress has been made.
“This is due to small-scale producers having to compete with large companies on the open market, with barriers to entry set too high. The industry is still dominated, to the point of being a monopoly, by a few players,” Pilane says.
The NPTT acknowledges that while black smallholder farmers may initially have been left out of the Poultry Master Plan development process, they have now become part of this process. As a result, they are participating in various working streams of the master plan before it is finalised. Black smallholder farmers are also expected to play an important part in implementing it.
The NPTT seeks to ensure that the Poultry Master Plan transforms the sector, creates equal opportunities for black farmers and that equity ownership by black farmers of the value chain gets enhanced.
According to Afasa, in 2018 the poultry industry (broilers and layers) represented approximately 17% or R47,9 billion of the total gross value of local agricultural production. This made it one of the largest subsectors of Mzansi’s agri-sector.
Despite this, the majority of smallholder farmers are excluded from the formal market and forced to fend for themselves in the informal live bird market. There, difficulties linked with selling large quantities of live birds on the market and access to quality feed and day-old chicks limits their expansion, the organisation says.
The NPTT aims to work alongside stakeholders to contribute to South Africa’s economic growth, job creation, and poverty alleviation.
Pilane said that they appreciate the efforts made to transform the industry. “The formation of APP-NPTT is meant to enhance these efforts and share ideas on how transformation can be fast-tracked in order for farmers of any race or creed to share in the benefits of this lucrative industry while ensuring food security for all,” he said.