Dti briefs Parly on measures to boost poultry industry

The poultry industry has 48 000 direct and 63 000 indirect jobs
The poultry industry has 48 000 direct and 63 000 indirect jobs

Pretoria – The Deputy Director General of Industrial Development at the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Garth Strachan, says stakeholders need to do everything in their power to save jobs in the poultry industry.

Strachan was part of a delegation from the department, which briefed the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations in Parliament on Thursday.

His comments come as government has joined forces with industry to counter job losses as concerns of the rate of imports grip poultry producers.

The poultry industry has 48 000 direct and 63 000 indirect jobs.

“There is a broad agreement that manufacturing-led growth is critical for high economic and employment growth, and the poultry sector is critical to this effort.

“To this effect, government -- through the establishment of the Action-focused Government Task Team -- has taken the support for the sector to another level through the structured mechanism.

“This team will develop a common response to the complex challenges facing the domestic industry. It will receive inputs and undertake research where required, identify possible areas for intervention, engage with different stakeholders, make recommendations for intervention and unblock areas for intervention,” Strachan said.

He said shared responsibility between the State, private sector and labour is vital to the sector, as this will allow growth, competitiveness, job retention, increased production and exports, and market share.

The Deputy Director-General at the dti, Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter, emphasised the need for the poultry industry to take advantage of new market access opportunities in the Gulf, as this would assist to avert job losses.

The Select Committee also heard that while there are US imports of chickens, these are not the source of the present crisis of the poultry.

In 2015, South Africa and the US made a breakthrough in the long-standing dispute of the export of bone-in chicken pieces from the US. The deal secured South Africa’s participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for the next 10 years.

According to the Paris Agreement, the US was allowed to export of 65 000 tons a year to South Africa. However, it has emerged that the US has not fully utilised the quota optimally. Therefore, Agoa is not the main contributor for the current poultry crisis. – SAnews.gov.za