AFRICA - More and more African countries are opening up their poultry markets to imports from Europe and the United States, growing evidence of constrained poultry production capacity on the continent.
Tanzania is the latest African country to allow imports of halal poultry products from Russian producer, Cherkizovo.
The Russian meat producer also produces other meat products and has a poultry farm in the Lipetsk region in Russia. This month it shipped the first batch of dozens of tonnes of halal poultry into Tanzania and has earmarked to increase its halal poultry shipments to the African country to 500 tonnes before the end of 2016.
The Russian company has roped in Zanchick as a distribution partner for halal poultry products in Tanzania and it says it is seeking to score and capitalise on the Tanzanian company’s extensive network in East Africa region.
"Zanchik is one of the largest distributors of poultry meat, including premium halal meat, in east Africa and has an extensive distribution network in Zanzibar, enabling it to control the entire supply chain of frozen products," Cherkizovo said.
The Russian company’s head of exports, Andrei Terekhin said that although the firm’s “first shipments to Tanzania are relatively small in volume, the launch of exports to Tanzania marks another milestone in our journey to expand sales of our products international” and added that his company was anticipating “high demand for our halal products” such as poultry.
Experts say poultry demand in most African countries is tripping supply, hence international companies and producers are seeking to capitalise the supply chain gaps in the continent. Billionaire businessman, Bill Gates has reportedly pledged as many as 100,000 chickens to boost poultry production in Sub Saharan Africa, which faces food deficiencies.
African countries such as Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe are projected to see a rise in demand for poultry products in the near future. However, several producers in most of these markets are unable to capitalise on this as they are facing electricity and water shortages, according to industry sources.
In Zambia, which has also been affected by this year’s drought conditions, increasing hours of load shedding is dimming prospects for the poultry industry.
This is a problem that has also become common in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where the country is having to cut power supplies as it has a supply deficit while it is also in arrears in electricity payments and could have its additional power imported from South Africa and Mozambique cut.
Rhodnie Sisala, chairman of the Zambia Poultry Association, said “loss of electricity clearly disrupts poultry operations. We can’t pump water, we can’t give the birds the adequate lighting that they require to feed because they need more than daylight in order to grow at the optimum rate and also to give us the required number of eggs.”
In Zimbabwe, the poultry producers’ organisation said economic problems in the country such as cash shortages, delays in salary payments for government workers and competition from cheaply priced beef precipitated by de-stocking owing to drought conditions were the contributing factors to a less rosy poultry industry.
“The reduced demand is likely to continue exerting pressure on the industry for the rest of the year. Production is being reduced in response to the declining demand and already, there are signs that producers are de-stocking and reducing point-of-lay placements,” Solomon Zawe, chairman of the Zimbabwe Poultry Association said in an update on the industry.
In West Africa, the Nigerian Customs Service has just said it has destroyed as many as 200 cartons of frozen poultry products that had been imported into the country.
The seized and destroyed frozen poultry products had been exported from Benin, also in West Africa. Nigeria is eager to boost its poultry industry which is recovering from outbreaks of avian bird flu in the past few months.
“The imported frozen poultry products have a duty of N320,000 and duty paid value of N1,920,000. The items were seized on Tuesday along Benin-Ekaidolor Expressway,” said Madu Abubakar, Sector Commander of the Customs Controller General’s Compliance team for Zone C.