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The Poultry and Egg Industry
The poultry and egg industry is the largest sub-sector of the South African agricultural sector. The poultry industry represented 16.6% or R47.9bn of the total gross value of 2018 agricultural production of R288.6bn and is the largest animal production segment. The industry suffered numerous casualties during the avian flu outbreaks, which were exacerbated by increased competition from imports and the industry continues to consolidate. There is increasing pressure from rising input costs, particularly those for feed, transportation, energy and labour as well as declining consumer spending, although the industry was heading for a seasonal upturn in mid-2019.
Import Debate Rages On
The greatest challenge to local producers remains surging imports, with Brazil replacing avian flu-impacted European exports. Cheap or “dumped” brown chicken meat is sold locally below the foreign cost of production through foreign government subsidies. While this benefits meat importers, foreign exporters, consumers, local producers, importers and potential exporters continue to engage in heated public debate and legal action. Total 2018 poultry imports by volume were 19% above the 2013-2017 five-year average. Brazil is by far the biggest exporter to South Africa, followed by the United States.
This report focuses on the poultry and egg industry with comprehensive information on the size and state of the industry, production, sales, import and export trends as well as market share information. The factors that influence the industry, including the effects of avian flu and tariffs, are discussed. There are comprehensive profiles of 18 companies including major chicken producers such as RCL Foods and Astral and dominant egg producer Quantum Foods. Other profiled companies Country Bird Holdings, which bought the Opti Agri, and Crown Chickens, trading as Sovereign Foods, which merged with the Cold Storage Group.