They said following the spread of the virus, the number of local and international visitors visiting tourists attractions in the region have dropped which has greatly affected the poultry sub-sector.
Speaking to reporters at the Kibwabwa poultry farm in the outskirts of Iringa, Faraj Abri said chicken farming is one of their most economic activities, but they are currently not selling the chickens as previously when farmers were getting orders from hotels across the region.
According to Abri they are now forced to sell their products including eggs at lower prices, thus incurring losses because they are spending a lot of money to purchase chicken feeds. He said traders face challenges including lack of coordinated market for eggs which makes them to sell the product at throwaway prices.
He underscored the need for poultry farmers to establish a union and have a leader who will be representing other farmers at various forums. He said with the union, farmers will jointly agree on egg and chicken prices.
Abri emphasised on the need for farmers to be trained on proper chicken farming which includes having modern poultry house. He added that farmers should also use cages to reduce incidence of poultry diseases.
“I encourage youth to engage on chicken rearing because the business does not require a huge capital, one can start with a small number of chickens”, he said calling upon graduates to stop relying on formal employment instead grab opportunities in the agriculture-sub sector.
A study conducted in 2018 on the poultry sub-sector in Tanzania showed that the current population of chickens is estimated at 72 million, of which 40 million are indigenous chickens and the remaining 32 million are exotic poultry, which includes 24 million broilers and 8 million layers.
Among the existing 4.7 million agricultural households in Tanzania, 3.7 million households keep chickens.