by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE increase of poultry import tariffs is hitting South African consumers hard in the pocket.
Following the introduction of the tariff in 2020, a bag of Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) chicken portions has risen from R63,87 (US$4,11) to R77,61 – an increase of 9 percent – in one year.
The increases in the prices of IQF chicken are in line with projections by the South African National Consumer Union last year.
The Association of Meat Importers and Exporters (AMIE) said the tariffs were aimed at cutting out imports completely and creating a monopoly in the local industry.
“We need to ask why the local industry pursues protectionism to this extent despite the increases in price to the consumer,” said Paul Matthew, Chief Executive Officer of AMIE.
Currently, poultry producers are asking for even more tariff protection on certain chicken imports.
Poultry price increases – which are already exceeding inflation – would make chicken completely unaffordable to the 40 percent of South African consumers that are already regarded as poor.
This is according to experts.
AMIE said the industry “needs help, but not protection.”
Meanwhile, Botswana has banned poultry imports from South Africa.
Zimbabwe in the past effected similar restrictions although 5 percent of the country’s poultry is imported.
However, even that small reduction in imports led to a significant rise in price and the re-introduction of imports.
“If you cut imports out, what will happen to poultry in this country?” Matthew asked rhetorically.
“It will just become so controlled, the prices will just increase so that the lower LSM (Living Standards Measure) who enjoy the product will be unaffordable for their baskets.”
Chicken is hailed as the cheapest source of protein.
– CAJ News