Both sides of the story!

Over the last few months you have published numerous articles and reports highly critical of meat and poultry imports into South Africa.

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This is your right, but surely your readers have rights too? For instance, the right to hear all sides of the story and then make up their minds and form opinions based on the full set of facts and views placed before them. Do you not credit your readers with that much intelligence? Poultry imports are no threat to local industry. When comparing like products they represent approximately 10% of local production.

The products are also vastly different in that local chicken, by the industry’s own admission, is generally heavily injected with a brine solution, whereas imported chicken has little or no brining. Furthermore, if imports are restricted, there will be a net loss of jobs and not an increase. It is a well researched fact that protectionism is inflationary and destroys more jobs than it creates – check the years of research on this subject.

Who will be burdened by these higher costs? The embattled consumer, of course! What about food security? If the doors to imports are closed, where will SA source essential poultry products if avian influenza or similar diseases hit our local birds? It is not possible to reinstate imports overnight once exporters have switched to other markets.

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You do yourself and your readers a disservice by publishing one-sided views.