Today's Labour News

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chickensColumnist Bronwyn Nortje writes that South African chicken producers would like you to believe that imports are threatening their business and costing jobs, but this is a classic red herring.  

In reality, a combination of bad luck and poor management is the reason the domestic poultry industry is battling to thrive.  Nortje asks whether the local consumer should be forced to bail out an industry that has failed to embrace modern production techniques and has been plagued by bad business decisions.  The primary reason for the rise in chicken prices over the past 18 months is said to be drought.  Matters have been made worse by a weaker rand.  Then there is the domestic industry’s inability to respond to the crisis in any way other than by laying off thousands of workers and demanding the introduction of ever higher tariffs, which speaks to poor management.  Although the percentage of imported chicken has grown in the past several years, it still accounts for only 14% of local consumption.  This very clearly shows that chicken is not an import-dominated industry and that it would be close on impossible for that level of imports to cost so many jobs.

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