Recapping the day’s headlines in his first show for the week, 702 host Bruce Whitfield spoke to industry experts about the rising price of chicken which is set to make the popular form of protein unaffordable for many South Africans who are struggling under the weight of exponentially rising living costs.
Citing a report he had read earlier that day, Whitfield said that chicken prices had rose by 10% a year over the past decade.
Speaking on The Money Show, Paul Matthews, Chief Executive of the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters said that although the prices were rising at more or less the same rate as other meats such as pork, beef and lamb, he estimates that within the next year, prices for chicken could rise to surpass even those of beef (which are currently considered to be quite pricey).
When asked what could be driving the prices, Matthews explained that it all began in March 2020 when an over 60% tariff was applied to imports in the sector which was followed by what he calls an anti-dumping tariff to prevent overseas players in the industry from flooding the local market with their products.
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“The local producers matched that so as we have these tariffs, which is just another form of tax, obviously the local producers are matching that price and they’re calling it a production price and therefore they up their price…”
Whitfield asked if this constitutes price gouging of sorts, Matthews acquiesced that it is a “price protection” of sorts that ends up affecting the consumer badly.
Matthews added that he believed that local producers would not be able to meet the demand the country has for poultry.
His input was followed up by that of Chris Schutte, Chief Executive of Astral Foods who answered much of what Matthews had to say.
Speaking as a producer in the market, Schutte said 26% of all chicken consumed in South Africa was imported products and that local producers did not enjoy a dominant position in the market.
He cited production input costs stemming from the price of raw materials like maize as the main reason for their chicken price increases.
According to Schutte, the 10% chicken price increase was not an accurate figure.
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Compiled by Kaunda Selisho