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South Africa suspends chicken tariffs to relieve price pressures

Published by
Nonhlanhla P Dube

South Africa has suspended poultry tariffs for a year as part of efforts to reduce food inflation.

According to a government gazette published Monday, the government has suspended duties on protein imports from Brazil, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, and Spain due to the potential impact on prices. In South Africa, chicken is one of the more affordable protein sources.

In June, annual inflation reached 7.4 %, the highest level since the global financial crisis, with food prices increasing by 9 %. According to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group, a prominent anti-poverty organization, the price of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of frozen chicken pieces increased nearly 14 % year on year in June to R383.53 ($23.31).

The South African Association of Meat Importers and Exporters, which had called on the government in April to consider a tariff moratorium on imported chicken to help reduce inflation, said the decision would benefit consumers.

“Chicken is the most affordable and thus vital source of protein for South African consumers, particularly those living below the poverty line,” said Paul Matthew, CEO of AMIE, in an emailed statement.

In recent months, Mexico and South Korea have also removed poultry import tariffs in order to contain inflation. The US is also considering lowering tariffs on a variety of goods and announced last month that it would not levy any on Russian and Trinidadian imports of urea ammonium nitrate, which is used in liquid fertilizers.

Tariffs are a key component of South Africa’s  “master plan” to protect local poultry producers from a flood of low-cost imports and save jobs in an industry that employs approximately 100,000 people.

In March 2020, the government angered trading partners such as the United States by raising duties on frozen bone-in and boneless chicken pieces to 62 % and 42%, respectively. In December, it also imposed provisional anti-dumping levies of up to 265 % on countries including Brazil.

Nonhlanhla P Dube

Nonhlanhla P Dube is a senior news reporter at Rateweb. Nonhlanhla is a student of International Relations at the University of South Africa. She reports primarily on personal finance and economics. You can contact her directly by email at

Published by
Nonhlanhla P Dube