In a report released on 6 March 2024, backdated to 15 December 2023, the International Trade
Administration Commission (ITAC) has recommended to the Department of Trade, Industry and
Competition’s (DTIC) Minister Ebrahim Patel that certain rebates for frozen poultry imports could be
implemented to curb alleged “shortages” in the local market.

The South African Poultry Association (SAPA) is puzzled by the Commission’s reasoning behind
awarding these rebates, which SAPA believes are unnecessary, unjustified and damaging to the
domestic poultry industry. The industry is currently recovering from the worst avian influenza
outbreaks in the country’s history, but neither poultry farmers nor industry analysts are expecting any
shortages now that the threat has abated. ITAC, however, has calculated that the market will
experience a shortage of 172,000 tonnes during 2024, and has awarded 65 permits to allow importers
to claim rebates on their orders. Some of these rebates will apply to bone-in chicken, effectively
negating the hard-fought anti-dumping duties agreed to in the Poultry Sector Master Plan and are
counter to the master plan’s objective of curbing chicken imports.

“It’s quite ironic – ITAC is the institution that calculated the material harm done to the local industry
because of dumped poultry product, yet it has approved 65 permits, some of which will enable
importers to purchase dumped product,” says Izaak Breitenbach GM of SAPA’s Broiler Organisation.

The 65 permits issued by ITAC are valid from 26 January to 27 April 2024, and the import quota for
the first quarter is 43,000 tonnes. In 2023, the Poultry Association guaranteed South Africa that it
would not experience any shortages over the festive season, and it didn’t. The Association and its
members are confident in its calculations and its approach in supplying South Africa with chicken, as
the last reported shortages was over three years ago. Capacity has grown significantly in the last five
years due to the industry’s investments totalling more than R2.1 billion; creating thousands of new
jobs and bolstering South Africa’s food security status in the process.

“These rebate permits are undoing that work. They are designed to encourage additional chicken
imports when the country does not need them. They will cause further harm to the South African
poultry industry, which is beset by challenges on all sides. It is recovering from the unprecedented
avian influenza outbreaks in 2023 with no aid from government. Despite the Animal Disease Control
Act of 1984 stipulating that farmers will be compensated for culling flock in accordance with the law,
no farmer has received a cent in recompense,” continues Breitenbach.

“Moreover, Deputy President Paul Mashatile announced a relief fund for the poultry industry at the
National Council of Provinces in October of 2023 – this promise of aid has not materialised, and the
poultry industry has to yet again look inward for assistance and support. The rebates will further imperil
small-scale farmers struggling to get back on their feet, while padding the profit margins for importers
in order to address a problem that doesn’t exist.

“SAPA recently conveyed its research and findings on the current chicken supply to the Department
of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALLRD), advising that there is currently no
shortage of chicken on the local market. We are distressed that instead, DALLRD must have
confirmed the ITAC calculations on shortages if ITAC is issuing rebate permits. It’s confusing,
damaging to the poultry industry and greatly undermining (and undoing!) the work of the master plan,”
Breitenbach concluded.