Chicken protection measures now in place
The Namibian Poultry Industries has received a major lifeline after successfully lobbying Government to invoke the Import Export Control Act of 1994 to protect the company’s investment against cheap poultry products from abroad.
Namib Mills CEO Koos Ferriera said Thursday that the import export control measures for the broiler industry have been in place since 06 May following their gazetting at the beginning of April.
The new measures, which will see imports being limited to 600 tonnes of poultry products per month, were put in place to cushion the Namibian Poultry Industries (NPI) N$600 million investment against cheap imports mainly from South Africa and Brazil. They are being administered by the Meat Board.
Before the introduction of the measures, the poultry project had been faced with an uncertain future after posting losses running into millions since the project was commissioned last year.
While NPI had applied for an Infant Industry Protection, the protection was somehow never effected despite claims by the company that government had agreed to grant the protection, and after months of talks, NPI decided to ask the authorities to invoke the Import Export Control Act as a form of temporary protection to save its project from collapsing.
NPI had argued that Namibia is the only country with an “open border” policy that attracts imports from both South Africa and abroad. “This has caused unrealistic low prices in the market, pushing NPI into making substantial losses,” Ferriera had said.
As a result of the import control measures, effected for an indefinite period, importers now need to motivate the quantity of poultry products they want to import into the country to a committee chaired by the Meat Board that will then make a decision and issue permits. However, preference will be given to products not manufactured by NPI.
The company said in the past that it will probably be able to supply about 70% of the local market’s poultry requirements.
The new Managing Director for Namibia Poultry Industries Dawid Koen told the Economist that they were grateful to Government for the current arrangement and that they will not be pursuing the Infant Industry Protection.
He said NPI is currently sitting with a month’s stock of chicken due to the high imports before the closure and the low demand on chicken due to cheap game available because of the drought.