The red meat industry on Wednesday expressed concern regarding the proposed zero-rating of value added tax (VAT) on chicken.
Chairman of the Red Meat Industry Forum Dave Ford said: "The implications are that chicken could replace red meat and the red meat industry could simply disappear -- through no fault of our own."
He said this would affect the whole agricultural sector, especially small-scale rural farmers who depended on livestock for their livelihood.
Ford was responding to an announcement by the Minister of Agriculture Lulu Xingwana that the ministry was looking into expanding the list of foods exempted from VAT.
The zero-rating policy would mean that the price of chicken would be reduced by 14 percent.
Ford emphasised that a lot of protein needs of the poor, at whom the legislation was aimed, came from red meat.
"This simplistic approach of reducing VAT on chicken will be to no person's benefit. The whole basket of foodstuffs consumed by the poor needs to be considered in order to make a significant impact on their plight, and that very definitely includes other protein sources such as red meat and red meat products," he said.
full story from IOL here