Zambian poultry farmers faced with increasing costs of production have called on government to protect the industry from cheap imports.
“Government must not allow the imports of cheap poultry products to discourage the growth of the local industry,” said Aaron Chungu, a Lusaka-based poultry producer . “Zambia barely meets the local demand, making a good case for government intervention to support the local producers of poultry products so that they can also make a meaningful contribution to the nation’s food security,” he said.
Mr Chungu’s argument is supported by the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) that has forecasted a slow growth rate due to challenges faced by the industry.
“A number of factors, including the devaluation of the Kwacha that has been driving the costs of stock-feed, are putting poultry production under a lot of pressure,” says PAZ Chairperson Rhodnie Sisala. “As a result of these challenges the industry is likely to record a reduction in growth this year,” he stressed.
The call by poultry producers to protect them from cheap imports will put government at odds with its stated position of creating more certainty in the economy. According to the government, export bans and the fixing of prices generated uncertainty and ultimately impacted negatively on the economy
The poultry industry in Zambia is critical for the national economy. It constitutes 4.8% of the agricultural gross domestic product and 48% of the livestock sector. According to PAZ, the sector accounted for 50 000 permanent jobs and an additional 30 000 on a seasonal basis.
The broiler industry has been growing at an annual rates of 8% since 2000, and the layer industry at 10%.