Centre Encourages Local Poultry Production28 July 2011
NAMIBIA - A development centre in Mashare is trying to encourage and improve poultry rearing locally.
The Mashare Agricultural Development Centre is a government-run agricultural institute that farms with goats, sheep and cattle, as well as carrying out small-scale crop production.
New Era reports that business is booming at the poultry section of the centre that is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry under the Directorate of Veterinary Services.
Located 45km from Rundu in the Kavango Region, the centre mainly produces chickens for customers countrywide.
Chicks are sold at a subsidised price of seven dollars (NAD) per chick.
Its main aim is to produce chicks for the community and to encourage poultry production to reduce Namibia's dependence on poultry imports, mainly from neighbouring South Africa.
The centre also provides breeding stock to farmers around the country.
Livestock technician, Vicky Shuuyuka, told New Era that the centre generates about NAD25,000 per year. It also produces 1,500 chicks per month and 203 (egg) layers.
She continued: "The demand is becoming higher and higher. This is so because we marketed the chickens through the media. People are really interested because the chickens are cheap. Government is promoting chicken production."
Ms Shuuyuka said the chickens are very expensive and come from South Africa. The breed is bought in at day-old.
Once layers have laid eggs, the eggs are put in incubators for 21 days before they hatch. Chicks are then kept for four weeks before being sold to farmers for NAD7 per chick.
Although the project is doing well, it faces challenges such as poultry diseases.
Ms Shuuyuka explained: "It is a matter of vaccinating them against diseases. The feed and medication are also costly. When we get power blackouts, we have to burn everything (chickens) due to Newcastle disease. We didn't get it yet but if we do, we will burn and bury them.
"That is why we vaccinate them every week. The day they come out of the incubators, we give them an eye-drop vaccine."
Another challenge is chickens falling prey to pythons and squirrels at night and during the rainy season.
There are eight permanent workers at the poultry section that has 45 poultry houses.
The poultry sector in Namibia is small compared to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, reports New Era. As a result Namibia, has to import, at great cost, most of its poultry needs of about 40,000 tons per year.
The poultry population of Namibia, which is predominantly chickens, stands at around 920,000 birds.