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SA to expand production of poultry inputs for local producers: Didiza

Khulekani Magubane Financial reporter
Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza is looking into local sources to mitigate challenges faced by the poultry sector as it reels from load-shedding, rising interest rates and avian flu. File photo.
Agriculture minister Thoko Didiza is looking into local sources to mitigate challenges faced by the poultry sector as it reels from load-shedding, rising interest rates and avian flu. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Agriculture, land reform and rural development minister Thoko Didiza says her department is looking at finding local sources of maize, soya and sunflower for local poultry producers to use cheaply.

This is because the local sector reels from load-shedding, rising interest rates and avian flu.

Replying to questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Didiza said among the major cost inputs in poultry production, particularly chicken, included soya, maize and sunflower.

“Unfortunately these [inputs] are what drives the prices in poultry, particularly soya, because even though South Africa produces soya, it exports the majority of it, and then the industry has to buy it [back] as imports, which then increases the prices,” she said. 

“We have engaged the input suppliers, which are maize producers, millers as well as your soya producers and sunflower [producers], to make sure that we expand the area of production such that there is readily available market for such product for our industry.”

ANC MP Nhlagongwe Mahlo asked the minister if her department has investigated the possibility of securing cheaper feedstocks for the sector and if these can be supplied locally. 

“It is important for me to indicate that in the past two years, we have worked together with industry and labour to ensure that we develop the poultry industry in South Africa in a way that is sustainable for exports and imports where necessary,” Didiza said.

Asked what portion of the department’s blended finance schemes for poultry producers is available to SMMEs, she said: “The department put R1bn in the last two years and IDC [Industrial Development Corporation] complemented that with a billion. And that was mostly targeted in two sectors: poultry and livestock.”

EFF MP Nthako Matiase asked how the department hoped to address challenges facing local poultry producers such as import penetration and dumping, load-shedding, the exchange rate and access to markets.

“We have launched a blended finance scheme with the Land Bank on the agro-energy fund to assist those participants in poultry production to move to alternative energy sources instead of relying on Eskom in particular,” Didiza replied. 

The department was working with industry to improve biosecurity on poultry farms amid the ongoing challenges related to the avian flu, she added. 

TimesLIVE


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