CAMEROON: After years of turbulence due to the importation of frozen chicken, the Cameroon Poultry Interprofessional Organisation (IPAVIC) has announced an increase in production during 2015, reports Jean Armand Bokally.
Despite the financial losses in October and November 2015 (FCFA 10 billion) due to the massive and fraudulent importation of frozen chicken, IPAVIC surpassed 45 million chickens produced in 2015.
This was indicated by its president, Mr François Djonou during a press briefing in Yaounde on February 28. According to him, the sector could have done better if it was not facing the entrance into Cameroonian territory of frozen chickens from Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
2015 production far outstrips the amount produced in 2013, which was about 40 million chickens and the 33 million produced in 2011.
A real hope for the whole chain
In 2016, IPAVIC plans to produce even more chickens.
According to the President of this group, François Djonou: "The members of IPAVIC should produce a total of 50 million chickens against 45 million in 2015."
The main element motivating this forecast remains the current price of corn which is down to about 160 FCFA from 200 FCFA in 2015, according to the President who think that this should encourage farmers to produce more.
This lower price has also motivated the French group Somdiaa, leader of Cameroon's sugar market through its local subsidiary Sosucam, to engage in the production of chicks for local farmers.
The group Somdiaa is also present in Gabon via a milling and poultry company that produces about 350,000 chicks per year. This motivates poultry farmers in the country making them rather optimistic.
"There is a factor to consider, it is the price of a kilo of corn which is low compared to previous years.
"It is now sold at FCFA 160, but usually, it is sold in January to FCFA 185 or 190. It looks like the production of corn has increased. The Ministry of Agriculture will probably tell us more," said Gerôme Siake, poultry farmer.
"I am very optimistic, given the current trend. I will give you more accurate data, before long," added François Djonou.
Dealing with smugglers
Smuggling of low-values chicken products into the country caused troubles for Cameroon's poultry industry in late 2015, but the country's Ministry of Trade then seized more than 85 tons of frozen chicken, according to IPAVIC.
The organisation said the intervention has borne fruit, since the smugglers were scared.
"The fierce struggle two months before the end of year festivities dealt a psychological blow to the spirit of smugglers.
"The report of the team I sent to the border at the beginning of December 2015 was positive. The smugglers were frightened and refrained from flooding our territory with frozen chicken over the holidays," said François Djonou.
However, IPAVIC data suggests things might not look so rosy for egg producers this year.
The country keeps 105 million layers producing about two billion table eggs, and intends to do better this year. But facing difficulties of access to finance, and the high cost of certain inputs, the IPAVIC officials advocate a greater role of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER) regarding the production line of corn, poultry's limiting factor in Cameroon.
According to data from MINADER, the national maize production was 1.8 million tons in 2013, against an annual domestic demand estimated at 2 million tons.
Even so, IPAVIC suggests 2016 should be a stellar year for Cameroonian poultry after the issues faced last year.ThePoultrySite News Desk