Temporary poultry rebate in response to HPAI outbreak, ITAC says

09 Feb 2024

08 February 2024
Engineering News
by Sabrina Jardim

Amid the creation of a temporary rebate on poultry products – as set out by Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel to the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) – ITAC notes that the directive followed the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) confirming the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), which forced the culling of millions of fowls at great loss to key players across the poultry value chain.

Poultry products under the subheadings of boneless cuts and bone-in cuts will be rebated to 2019 ordinary customs duty levels, while all other meat and edible offal, fresh, chilled or frozen fowls under the species of Gallus Domesticus will be rebated duty-free for low-income consumers.

ITAC explains that the temporary rebate does not apply to anti-dumping duties and is not a full rebate in some product categories, such as bone-in cuts where importers will still have to pay a duty of 37% to ensure continued protection for domestic poultry producers against unfair trade practices and injurious imports. Moreover, the volume of the tariff rate quota for the first six months was determined to be 86 000 t, which may be equally divided into two three-month periods, or 43 000 t per three-month period, with the permits administered on a three-month basis over the first two three-month periods at 43 000 t per three-month period.

As stated in the guidelines, ITAC points out that the issuing of permits under the rebate provision may be discontinued if domestic production has satisfactorily recovered from the HPAI outbreak. Hence, the issuance of permits under the rebate provision may be discontinued based on assessments by DALRRD and the National Agricultural Marketing Council regarding domestic producers' recovery from the HPAI outbreak.

Additionally, the rebate may also be suspended in an instance where the Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister advises the commission that the outbreak is under control and "domestic production has returned to levels which safeguard food security in Southern African Customs Union". Monthly updates on production and the path of the outbreak will, therefore, be provided by DALRRD. One such report from January 19 highlights that the share of the HPAI outbreak by strain is concentrated on the H7 variant, whereby the H7 has 113 outbreaks as opposed to 26 outbreaks of H5, with the outbreak to be found largely in Gauteng.

In the case of the H5 virus, just over half, or 57.7%, of the outbreaks have been reported to State Veterinary Services as resolved, whereas less than a fifth, or 18.6%, have been resolved in the case of the main H7 outbreak. Just below a third – 31.3% – of the H7 outbreaks in Gauteng had been resolved by the end of December 2023. However, the 'peak' of the outbreak seems to have passed for both strains. DALRRD observed that, on average, 12 outbreaks were reported a week in the August/September period in 2023 and while the outbreak is now seemingly tapering off, ITAC argues that risks seemingly remain.

ITAC interventions, in this case, are guided by the path of the outbreak and the associated responses in market inventories and stock levels. Applications for the rebate provisions opened on January 30, following the publication on January 26 in Government Gazette No. 50042, Notice 2291 of 2024. Interested parties have a ten-day window to submit applications, with further details available on the ITAC website.