Government soothes anxious poultry farmers

The Zambian government will next week Tuesday convene a stakeholders meeting to address concerns of a jittery poultry industry, reeling from the effects of dumping and rising input costs.

Industry sources said the concerns were heightened by developments in the South African poultry sector, where major producers were set to retrench thousands of workers in the industry. This as local producers struggled to compete against cheap imports from the European Union.

Zambian agriculture minister Dora Siliya, who will host the meeting, today expressed concerns that cheap poultry imports continued to threaten the sustainability of the local poultry industry, despite restrictions put in place to mitigate its effects.

“It is worrying that people are still importing banned meat products such as chicken. This means farmers are losing their income and jobs are being lost as well,” she said.

The meeting – called by Siliya – will include the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ), Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the ministries of finance, livestock and commerce.

Sources close to the meeting told africanfarming.com that guaranteeing shelf space in major retail chain stores was one of the disputed solutions named to overcome the challenges faced by the industry.

Since 2015 profitability swings have been an ongoing issue for the local poultry industry, especially broiler chicken farmers who lacked the ability to pass on the feeding costs to consumers.

According to PAZ, the local industry’s 2015 production of 79 million broiler chickens had reduced by 15%, because of rising input costs and cheap imports.

“We continue to face high costs, and compounding the problem of cheap chicken imports,” said Dominic Chanda, a poultry farmer of Lusaka.

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