South African poultry producers under threat from cheap imports -SAPA
* Problems compounded by drought-driven feed cost inflation
* Domestic poultry industry expects 4,000 job losses this year
* Imports mainly from the EU, Brazil and United States
By Tanisha Heiberg
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 2 (Reuters) - South Africa's poultry industry is battling for survival in the face of stiff price competition from producers in Brazil, the European Union and the United States, as well as the worst drought in a century, the industry association said.
The June scrapping of 15 years of punitive duties on U.S. chicken imports opened the door to 65,000 tonnes a year, adding to products from the EU and Brazil.
Though Africa's most industrialised country consumes the most chicken on the continent and local producers cannot keep up with rising demand, many are facing the threat of closure because of the an import-driven price war, South African Poultry Association (SAPA) Chief Executive Kevin Lovell told Reuters.
"This year alone, more than 1,000 jobs have been lost and we are expecting that up to 4,000 more will be lost by the end of this year," Lovell said.
About a dozen smaller producers have closed or been sold, he added. Continuación...