AFRICA - Poultry companies in Africa are seeking to reduce costs as they bid to expand further into the region, whilst the continent's poultry industry is having to deal with imports from the United States and other high volume poultry producing countries.
Rising poultry imports into most African countries have now forced some nations in the region to put in place protectionist measures aimed at boosting local producers. Companies and small scale producers in most African countries have seized this opportunity and started boosting operations.
Countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe are pushing through such measures and South Africa only recently backed down on its bid to block imports of poultry products from the USA.
Although South Africa has opened up its economy to poultry imports from the United States, it is also facing resistance from other countries in the African region which are not opening up for imports from Africa’s second largest economy after Nigeria.
In 2013, Namibia restricted poultry imports from South Africa to 600 tonnes per month and subsequently increased this to 900 tonnes per month in November last year.
Poultry companies in South Africa say this is too low and have challenged this restriction, saying it is in violation of trade treaties and agreements protected by the World Trade Organisation and other protocols under the Southern African Development (SADC) regional trade bloc. However, the country has protected the move, saying it will benefit its own poultry producers.
The deal that South Africa signed with the USA has also been seen as a threat to other international producers that export to Africa.
“The South African market has been a growing market for us,” Maire Burnett from the British Poultry Council was quoted as saying.
“In 2011 we shipped 20,000t and by 2014 this had grown to 43,000t with a value of £36m.”
In Zimbabwe, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said the poultry sector in the southern African country has restructured to encompass low scale producers as well as maintaining large scale producers such as Irvine’s, Suncrest and Lunar Chickens. Capacity in Zimbabwe’s poultry sector has also risen in the past year.
In Kenya, various programs are being rolled out to support chicken producing companies headed up by women.
Earlier this month, about 30 000 women received a boost after accessing a fund of 8 million Kenyan shillings to finance poultry projects in the country.
“The poultry project is meant to empower all the women in the county. This will enable them to work as a group so they can get quick returns,” said Hellen Obado, wife of the Miguri province governor.