AFRICA - African poultry producing countries are bracing for more export deals to other markets outside the continent, with South Africa seeking to have Saudi Arabia open up for poultry imports from Africa’s second largest economy.
South Africa recently opened up to US poultry imports under a deal which will also see the facilitation of increased trade between the African country and the United States in other economic areas.
“We are continuing through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to engage with Saudi Arabia to clear some of the matters which will allow us to export poultry, beef into Saudi Arabia, bearing in mind that South Africa has a well-respected and well-policed halal system,” Rob Davies, South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister said.
Astral Foods, one of the biggest poultry groups in South Africa has trimmed its forecast for interim headline earnings per share, citing rising costs and depressed demand for poultry products in the country.
Astral Foods said it had been impacted by increased feed costs following the drought in South Africa. It however, said "a reasonable degree of certainty exists" although "forced imports of maize aggravated costs".
The country’s northern neighbour, Zimbabwe, is however battling food shortages occasioned by a persistently dry season on the back of the El Niño which is hitting the region. The dry conditions have meant low crop output in the majority of the country’s provinces and poultry and other livestock producers are now hard-pressed for feed-stock.
“Poultry industry representatives in Zimbabwe have expressed concerns regarding the long-term supply of maize and soya through to the 2017 harvest and are engaging all stakeholders, including Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, to deliberate on strategies to sustain the livestock sector,” Solomon Zawe of the Zimbabwe Poultry Producers Association said this week.
Demand for egg lagers chicken, Mr Zawe added, has also been very low while producer prices for broiler chickens in Zimbabwe now ranges between $1.85 to $1.9 per kg. Additionally, the table eggs industry is currently depressed but could revitalise as more and more people take up various chicken farming activities in the country.
“Imports appear to have declined from the end of November right through the festive season. Despite this, local demand is showing signs of slowing down due to other factors, among them, reduced buying power,” he said.
In Namibia, the Consumer Trust is seeking to reduce usage of antibiotics in food processing chains. The trust wants poultry producers in Namibia to halt administering antibiotics to chickens reared for the market.
“NCT will engage Nando’s, KFC and Namib Poultry to establish if chickens on the Namibian market are given antibiotics,” Michael Gaweseb, executive director of the Namibia Consumer Trust said.
In North Africa, experts say the poultry industry in Egypt is poised for growth as it is springing off a low base. Robert Claxton, a poultry industry expert and consultant in the region said in an interview with media in Egypt that the country’s poultry industry was facing some issues although “it is better than many other countries”.
“The sector in Egypt is a promising one, since the price of beef is expensive and it is going to get more expensive. Also, keep in mind, the Egyptian market cannot depend on the pork industry. So, as I said, any growth will be in the poultry and fish industries,” he said.
He cited disease outbreaks as impacting on chicken production which was leading to “the loss of high percentages of products” while the “devaluation of the Egyptian currency” was also another challenge as the country’s “feed industry depends on importing 90 per cent of its production inputs”.
Zambian poultry producers are also worried about costs of inputs, despite the country reducing electricity tariffs for commercial users. Poultry Association of Zambia chairperson Rhodnie Sisala said: “There are some items which are driven by the exchange rate; energy; by the price of soya, the price of maize. So we really need to see what the impact of reduction in electricity tariffs is going to be.”