Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Noko Masipa MP.
Permanent loadshedding is having a devastating effect on the poultry industry.
This week the poultry producer Astral Foods said that they expect their earnings for the first half of this financial year to be “decimated” by loadshedding disruptions. These blackouts brought on by the ANC government are causing the poultry industry to fork out millions on diesel to power generators. The ANC government unashamedly failed to respond positively to a request for diesel rebates to farmers to save the sector and protect food security.
Currently, the cost of poultry production exceeds the price at which the chicken meat is being sold.
The economic principle dictates that poultry farmers must increase their prices in this instance to cover their costs. However, consumers can no longer afford these price hikes, especially for a staple item in most households, and food security. In many rural and urban areas poor citizens rely heavily on poultry meat and egg for safe nutrient proteins in their daily diets. This poses a huge threat to national food security.
The DA therefore reiterates its call for bone-in chicken to be zero-VAT rated. Removing VAT on bone-in chicken would benefit the poorest 50% of South Africans who are already battling to put food on the table – now exacerbated by permanent loadshedding.
It is every government’s duty to protect its poor citizens through the protection of its agriculture commodity group instead of exposing it to market forces that will lead to its demise.
Currently, the government of South Africa and Eskom is doing the opposite.
The current ANC-engineered Eskom destruction of agriculture is a disaster for the entire economy. Whilst agriculture’s contribution to the GDP is 2%, the entire value chain of agriculture contributes up to 30% to the GDP. This applies to all sectors inclusive of the poultry industry. If these actions of Eskom and the ANC do not stop, the economy in no time likely to bleed double the digit of the GDP which shall be disastrous to all planned infrastructural plans.
Rural towns are rapidly becoming ghost towns due to Eskom’s loadshedding. The Democratic Alliance has written to the chairperson of the portfolio, requesting him to invite Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD), Ms Thoko Didiza and Eskom management to appear before the portfolio committee to provide the committee with a plan to avert potential food security disasters and job losses.