“The purpose of these tariffs for South Africa or any other African country is to look after its own industry’s needs. Tariffs for South Africa are necessary, tariffs for all other African countries are also necessary,” South African Poultry Association CEO Kevin Lovell told CNBC Africa on Monday.
“The reason that we have the poultry coming in is because largely it’s stuff that other people don’t want elsewhere in the world. We would really like to encourage all of our neighbouring countries to be as active in promoting their own production as we are.”
According to Lovell, South Africa exports about half a per cent of what the country produces, which is less than two per cent of world production.
South Africa is however the biggest chicken consumer per capita in the continent, excluding Mauritius. In due course, Africa is expected to become the home of the global poultry market.
“As Africa develops, and these opportunities that we look for are realised, more and more chicken will be eaten. We’re actually the future growth of poultry on a global scale in the medium term. In the short term, Asia will still be the growth of poultry,” Lovell added.
South Africa's minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies explained that the decision to impose tariffs in the poultry industry in South Africa is yet to be finalised, but that the process was underway.
The tariff decision is supported by a recommendation from the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) of South Africa.
In the event that the tariffs are imposed, the price will affect imported poultry products but possibly have minimal effect on local poultry products. The tariff will also only affect countries other than the European Union, which could as a result see South Africa getting more imports from Europe.
“This industry is in severe distress, there should be no doubt now. If it doesn’t get relief, and the tariff is only one part, we will continue to suffer and eventually the suffering will cause failure,” Lovell explained.