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February 23, 2024
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Western Cape firm nets R300 million annual deal to supply poultry delicacies to China

The landmark deal, forged through a collaboration of key players such as Wesgro and Standard Bank, has the potential to create 3000 new jobs across the entire value chain.
  • AskCarlaKote, a specialised trading consultancy, is poised to deliver 540 tons of chicken feet each month, primarily partnering with female-owned poultry farms in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.
  • Strong demand in China for chicken feet and expanding export opportunities in various markets signify SA’s poultry industry’s potential for significant growth.

In a groundbreaking trade development, a Western Cape-based company has secured a lucrative R300 million per year deal to export chicken feet to China.

The deal made possible with the support of Wesgro, the Official Tourism, Trade, and Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, as well as Standard Bank, has the potential to generate up to 3 000 jobs throughout the entire value chain.

Leading the charge in this major trade deal is AskCarlaKote, a trading consultancy specialising in comprehensive solutions for farmers and clients in the commodities trading industry. AskCarlaKote will deliver 540 tons of chicken feet to China each month, collaborating with a network of predominantly female-owned poultry farms in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga to meet this substantial order. What’s more, in response to the soaring demand in China, AskCarlaKote is in advanced talks with multiple West African clients about exporting chicken feet to that region. Notably, they have already received a second inquiry for supplying chicken feet to the Asian market.

Carla Kote, the founder of AskCarlaKote, shared her optimism for the future despite the current bird flu outbreak in SA, which has temporarily delayed the deal’s initiation.

“This deal holds enormous potential for South African poultry farmers and our clients. While we have experienced some delays due to the recent bird flu outbreak in the country, we are optimistic that once all regulatory hurdles have been addressed, we will be sending our first test order to China before the end of the year.”

Kote further added: “This trade deal is the result of collaboration between Wesgro, Standard Bank, the farming sector, and my company. Standard Bank has pledged its support to enhance and grow the broilers and abattoirs within our supply chain. The agriculture departments in Mpumalanga and Western Cape have also thrown their full support behind this initiative.”

Strong demand in China

China has a robust demand for chicken feet, with approximately 50% of the country’s annual chicken imports consisting of this popular delicacy. In China, chicken feet are incorporated into soups, stews, and served as snack items. Historically, the Asian giant has sourced most of its chicken feet from Brazil, Vietnam, and the US. In contrast, SA has had limited poultry product exports due to varying international standards. However, potential export destinations like the European Union, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and countries within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Continental Free Trade Area are emerging as promising markets. The global demand for poultry products, especially from countries like China, has been steadily on the rise, positioning SA’s poultry industry for significant expansion.

Wrenelle Stander, CEO of Wesgro, hailed the export agreement secured by AskCarlaKote as a significant achievement in SA’s poultry industry, while also showcasing the Western Cape’s growing role as a global agricultural exporter. Stander stated: “With its potential to create thousands of jobs and bolster the regional economy, this deal stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in driving economic growth. Our mission at Wesgro is to support businesses in driving economic growth and job creation across the city and province. This deal is a significant milestone towards achieving these goals.”

Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, welcomed the exciting export agreement, saying: “As a provincial government, we are determined to do all we can to support the growth and expansion of businesses across the Western Cape. This determination is at the heart of our economic action plan, ‘Growth For Jobs’, which aims to enable the private sector to create many more jobs in this province and across South Africa. This significant export deal is exactly the kind of expansion that we are proud to have played a part in enabling, supporting many jobs in this province and beyond, to bring benefits for all.”

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth in the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos, said: “I am thrilled to witness the success of our economic growth strategy in action! The R300 million annual deal, a testament to the powerful collaboration between Wesgro and Standard Bank, not only showcases our commitment to innovation but also holds the potential to create 3000 new jobs. As the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth in the City of Cape Town, I am dedicated to attracting investment and fostering teamwork with strategic partners. Together, we forge impactful connections that amplify our efforts in job creation, securing prosperity for our poultry industry and the entire community”.

Strong support

Wesgro’s trade unit offers extensive support to businesses aiming to export their products and services worldwide. This support encompasses trade exhibitions, trade missions, festivals, business-to-business (B2B) facilitation, trade training, mentoring, masterclasses, workshops, networking events, webinars, research, lobbying, policy advocacy, and technical assistance, including support with documentation, permits, visas, and certificates. Furthermore, the Cape Trade Portal, which serves as a marketplace and export resource centre, connects Cape Town and Western Cape-based exporters with international buyers.

In AskCarlaKote’s case, Wesgro, in collaboration with Standard Bank, hosted a B2B matchmaking event that proved pivotal. During this event, a Chinese company expressed keen interest in importing chicken feet, laying the foundation for the partnership between AskCarlaKote and the Chinese firm.

Luthando Vuba, the head of international trade at Standard Bank said: “Our goal as the Standard Bank Group is to play this meaningful role of partnering African businesses for growth and playing a leading role when it comes to opening up opportunities in the world’s largest markets such as China, and to do so with strategic partners such as Wesgro, really helps us deliver this goal more sharply, grow these businesses and impact the communities in which they operate.”

Lebohang Dhludhlu, one of the farmers within AskCarlaKote’s network of suppliers, expressed her enthusiasm, noting: “This is a great initiative to empower farmers, including myself, to scale up commercially. I look forward to this opportunity and growth.”

Khaya Bruwana, a Western Cape poultry farmer, echoed the sentiment, saying: “The potential for growth of my broiler farm and others in the Western Cape in partnership with AskCarlaKote and under Lebohang Dhludhlu’s guidance has given me hope for the future of the poultry industry.”

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