AFRICA - The global poultry industry is projected to rebound next year, according to a new report released this month by Rabobank, writes Tawanda Korombo.
Other experts said Africa will also ramp up production although some markets on the continent still import from countries such as the United States, Brazil and others.
However, for African producers, poultry prices are expected to go up because of dry weather conditions which could raise competition for scarce grain for human consumption and animal feed purposes. This is expected to be offset by growing investments in Africa’s poultry industry by continental and other international companies.
Olam International Limited announced this month that it was venturing into animal feeds and other support areas in Nigeria. The company will set up poultry feed mills in Africa’s biggest economy and also one of the biggest poultry producers on the continent.
This comes despite Nigeria battling to prevent outbreaks of avian influenza in the poultry industry. The Food and Agriculture Organization arranged a meeting this month in Senegal to explore ways and measures to prevent and control the highly pathogenic avian influenza following outbreaks in some parts of the country.
“The importance of the poultry sector is well established. It contributes to promoting job creation in this promising and growing field. In rural areas, family poultry contributes to the enhancement of people’s livelihoods and to women’s empowerment,” said Vincent Martin, the regional representative for FAO.
Consumption of meat products such as poultry is on the increase in South Africa, providing significant opportunities for local producers and producers from the United States that are bracing for the resumption of US chicken exports to the African country. Poultry meat consumption represents about 60 per cent of meat products consumed by South Africans, according to new findings of research.
The Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) says poultry consumption in the country is likely to increase by as much as 38 per cent over the next 10 years. By 2024, South Africans will be eating an additional 700,000 tonnes of chicken.
But in Ghana, a shortage of chicken is looming in the West African country, with the peak Christmas and New Year period likely to see shortages of poultry meat as the country counts the cost of the bird flu outbreak that it suffered this year. This forced authorities in the country to destroy thousands of birds in the Greater Accra, Volta, Eastern and Ashanti regions.
Reuters reported this month that Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia were among about eight countries that had banned poultry imports from France following the most recent outbreak of bird flu. France had confirmed cases of bird flu at a backyard farm, sending outbreak jitteries in markets to where it exports its poultry products.
"The speed of the implementation of management measures is a prerequisite to limit the spread and consequences of disease, especially for export. Furthermore, it should be recalled that avian influenza is not transmissible to humans through the consumption of meat, eggs, foie gras and more generally any food product," Stephane Le Foll, the French Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry said.
While the three African countries were having problems with poultry imports to curb spread of the bird flu, Zambia raised concerns over South Africa allowing the United States to resume poultry exports there. The Poultry Association of Zambia said resumption of US poultry exports to South Africa of some 65 000 tonnes per year would have negative effects for Zambian producers.
“Of course, we want trade liberalisation because it results in creation of a bigger market, but our concern is that once those US chickens are allowed in South Africa, they will also be found in Zambia and other neighbouring countries.
“We are concerned because the cost of producing chickens in the USA is different to that of Zambia hence our farmers will lose the market and, consequently, cut down production thereby affecting people’s livelihoods,” said Rodney Sisala, chairperson of the association.