Poultry Analysis

Poultry Imports – The Return of Those Darn Statistics…

It’s not quite a fox in the henhouse, but the South African Poultry Association (SAPA) and their lobbyist Fairplay are sticking to their assertion that poultry imports to South Africa have increased by 600% between August 2022 and May 2023, as a result of the suspension of punitive tariffs.

They are using this alarming statistic to pressure the Department of Trade and Industry into re-instating additional punitive import tariffs (over and above the existing 62%) while also – for good measure – accusing the SA government of ‘creating jobs in Brazil’ presumably at the expense of local workers.

Most media outlets have published Fairplay’s assertions without question. Business Report bound it up with South Africa’s expulsion from AGOA, which according to SAPA would be a good thing.

FreightNews also published the assertions without checking the actual facts.

Our Fairplay Rebuttal

The trouble is, one can make statistics do anything. For instance, we can claim that a 600% increase over nine months translates into an increase of 66% per month.

If one applied that to poultry import figures from August 2022 to May 2023, the tonnage of imports for May 2023 should be 54 767 tonnes, as against the actual figure of 3530 tonnes.

This just shows how ridiculous the skewed interpretation of statistics can become.

So perhaps one should simply publish the stats themselves (which Fairplay has been extremely reluctant to do) and let you make up your own mind.

Actual Import Figures

In our view, the actual figures show that the volume of imports from Nov 21 to May 22 (25 811 tonnes) compared to the volume from Aug 2022 to April 2023 (14 853 tonnes) shows a drop of more than 30% in actual tonnage.

A press release from the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters sets out their perspective.

The fact that the local poultry industry would welcome South Africa’s expulsion from AGOA – with a potential stoppage of imports from the US – is puzzling as it would lead to a shortage of chicken and resultant price increases.

The Threat that Doesn’t Go Away

HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, or bird flu) is still an issue worldwide. A new mutated virus has been detected in Mpumalanga as both MoneyWeb and The Citizen report, which has resulted in the deaths of millions of birds.

New outbreaks from meat outbreaks across the globe are raising huge concerns even as the poultry market strengthens. With regard to food prices, the news might look good on the surface, but the devil is in the detail.

BusinnesTech reports Food prices are coming down – but not because of better supply, rather diminishing demand. In fact, as the Sunday Times warns, our food security is getting even more tenuous as a result of a crumbling country.

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