Trade unions, the FairPlay Movement and Proudly South African have launched a campaign to promote the consumption of local chicken.
The Buy Local Chicken campaign will be aimed at retailers and wholesalers, who buy significant quantities of imported chicken from producers that engage in predatory trade practices, and at consumers who will be educated on the advantages of buying and eating South African chicken products.
The campaign is fully aligned with the “Buy Local” drive in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 October 2020. It also supports the Poultry Sector Master Plan, which aims to boost the local chicken industry by curbing imports and expanding production for the local and export markets.
“We call on every South African to contribute to our recovery effort by choosing to buy local goods and support local businesses,” President Ramaphosa told parliament in October.
“The partners in this Buy Local Chicken campaign realise that this is also a jobs drive,” said Bheki Ntshalintshali, General Secretary of union federation Cosatu.
“In the past two decades and as a consequence of predatory trade practices, huge volumes of chicken imports have cost thousands of South African jobs. Now that Covid-19 has thrown millions more out of work, jobs are even more critical. Buying local chicken means saving and creating South African jobs.”
“Every job is precious,” said Mlamleli Pukwana, General Secretary of the Agricultural Food and Allied Democratic Workers Union (AFADWU), a new agriculture-focused trade union. “We must stop job losses caused by predatory chicken imports and create jobs by expanding our local chicken industry.”
Proudly South African, whose motto is “Buy local to create jobs”, will assist with consumer education, promoting local chicken and local brands.
“The festive season is coming up, and we want to encourage consumers to buy local chicken,” said Proudly South African CEO Eustace Mashimbye.
Francois Baird, founder of the FairPlay movement, said jobs could be saved and created not only to meet expanding consumption, but also in imports replacement.
“The poultry master plan aims to create 5 000 jobs over the next few years. I am sure we could double that with an additional drive to replace the predatory imports which have been killing local jobs. “
“That is a target to aim at, and this buy local chicken campaign is a significant first step.”
Baird noted that the new sugar industry master plan includes a commitment by wholesalers and retailers to increase their local sugar procurement to 95% over three years.
“FairPlay is proposing that a similar commitment be written into the chicken master plan, and we will be raising the issue with wholesalers and retailers in this buy local chicken campaign,” Baird said.
The “buy local chicken” campaign will start in the Western Cape later this month, with a picket at Shoprite-Checkers head office in Brackenfell on 30 November, urging the supermarket group to increase its purchases of South African chicken.
This will be followed by pamphleteering at shopping malls and taxi ranks, and memorandums to all major supermarket groups. In December there will be a picket outside Parliament and a memorandum to Mr Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition who has a key role in the government’s “buy local” campaign.
Mr Patel and his department also drove the development of the Poultry Sector Master Plan, and are important in achieving its objectives, which include containing imports and boosting local production and job creation.