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Fresh, Frozen or Alive: Understanding SA’s unhealthy agro-food system through analysis of chicken

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 12 Feb 2019
Time: 13:00 to 14:00


Presenter: David Neves, PLAAS, UWC

South Africa’s ‘food system’ has long been a source of concern. Corporate concentration and steady declines in on-farm employment limit the spaces for emerging or small-scale entrants. The nutritional outcomes generated by the agro-food system are equally worrisome. South Africa is marked by the ‘double burden’ of malnutrition, with widespread food insecurity and childhood stunting, alongside rising obesity and diet-related diseases. 
This presentation discusses South Africa’s agro-food system through supply-chain analysis of its most widely consumed animal protein – chicken. It examines the disparate supply chains of chicken, namely fresh refrigerated chicken, frozen chicken and live birds sold in the informal sector. 
The story of chicken offers glimpses into the workings of South Africa’s agro-food system. It exposes the vexed dynamics of domestic production, the international trade regimes underpinning imported ‘dark meat’ portions, and finally the informal market for live birds, discarded by corporate poultry producers.  Chicken is therefore not only an important foodstuff,  it provides a lens through which to understand our often-unhealthy food system. 



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