‘Ban on poultry imports an opportunity to boost local capacity’

19Oct 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
‘Ban on poultry imports an opportunity to boost local capacity’

INTERCHICK Co.ltd managing director has said the government ban on poultry products is both a challenge and an opportunity for them to expand more.

Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Luhaga Mpina.

 

He said that the company has already embarked on a mega expansion programme including the establishment of a 300-hectare farm in Arusha to produce more chicken.

“We see great opportunity in Tanzania, we have embarked on a $38 million project in Arusha to produce more chicken, I’m sure that if well organised, local breeders will be able to produce enough chicken to feed the whole country,” he said.

According to him, the current shortage of chicken is only temporary saying that by the next month things will become normal.When contacted, Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Luhaga Mpina insisted  that the government will not lift the ban by any means so as to rescue local firms from unfair competition from the cheap imported chicken.

“The government has no intention of lifting the ban anytime soon, what local breeders should do now is to tap the opportunity and produce more chicken. We are promoting industrialisation, and no one else will make this a success but locals themselves,” he said.

A cross section of chicken dealers said the  imposed ban on importation of poultry products has adversely affected businesses following a serious shortage of chicks in the local markets.

The situation may become worse as the government sticks to its guns of not lifting the ban.In June this year, the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development banned the importation of poultry products in an effort to protect local breeders.

Traders dealing with poultry products are pushing for the lifting of the ban to address the shortage of the products in the market as well as addressing the skyrocketing prices of chicken meat.

A week-long survey conducted by ‘The Guardian’ in Dar es Salaam’s major markets of Kisutu, Magomeni and Shekilango showed shortage of poultry products, while in some areas prices have gone up.

Some poultry agents and businesspeople raised their concerns saying that as time goes on they feel like losing breath as they do not earn from the business but lose all their capital.

Chairman of Kisutu Poultry Cooperative Society, Hamis Malamla said the ban has largely impacted their businesses and lives.According to him, before the ban, they were slaughtering at least 300 chicken per day but the situation has changed to 150-180 chicken per day.

“There was a time some of our traders used up all their capital due to shortage of chicken, they had nothing to do from morning to evening, bad enough others had loans to pay the banks,” he said.

Malamla called upon the government to lift  the ban for few years until the country is well prepared of producing enough chicken to cater for the country’s needs.

“Whenever the government is issuing any ban, it has to think twice about the impacts that may occur. We don’t have enough breeding firms to produce as many chickens to feed the whole country, so importation of quality chicken should be allowed but with stern supervision,” he said.

A chairman at Shekilango Market, David Mrisho said: “Poultry business is more difficult than anyone can imagine, we are going through   a very difficult time we never thought could come, business is becoming harder.”

According to him, few months ago the shortage was more serious compared to now where the situation is somehow improving.Yusuf Abdul, a poultry trader at Magomeni Market said that despite the shortage of the products, consumers are also not there. “Chickens are scarce, but customers also to buy them have sprinted. For the last seven months the number of customers had continued to drop time after time thus making the business even more difficult,” he added.

However, major poultry farmers and breeders have appealed to the government to be bold and stop chicken imports as they were killing the local market.

The secretary of the Tanzania Poultry Breeders Association (TPBA) Manase Mrindwa commended the government for maintaining the ban saying that the importation of cheap chicken, eggs were killing the local market.

Mrindwa said that the association was also worried about the quality of imported chicken, adding: “One can never tell whether the chickens being dumped in the country are carrying various diseases.”