MJIEL Vol 15 Iss 3 2018 - Article 5

A Reflection on the Ailing Poultry Industry in South Africa
Palollo Michael Lehloenya
 
ABSTRACT:  This paper looks at a series of events over the past two decades or so that have led the South African poultry industry to the brink of collapse. The current state of the industry has, for the most part, been precipitated by the influx of cheap foreign poultry into South Africa and the resultant closure of hundreds of small businesses and loss of thousands of jobs. Although there is general consensus that the situation requires urgent attention, opinions on how the problem can be resolved vary widely. The paper argues that, despite the obvious connection between the crisis and imports of cheap poultry products, the solution lies not so much in imposing further import duties, but in creating conducive conditions for local producer to export. It maintains that the problem started when the local poultry industry elected to trade only locally at the expense of exploring the export market. It further argues that the ongoing pushback against foreign poultry products through the use of protectionist measures is misguided and counterproductive in the long term. The paper concludes that the South African poultry industry would be better off if everyone´s efforts were directed at overcoming the existing capacity constraints within the government department responsible for monitoring poultry imports into South Africa. It further concludes that a change of focus is necessary to enable the South African poultry industry to compete effectively on the world stage, which will entail providing the local producers with the necessary know-how and support so that they can expand their share of the global export market.

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