Imports threaten local egg producers

…Create disparity and distraction within sub-sector

25 November 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

The egg sub-sector has lately come under threat by an influx of imported eggs, causing a stir in the local market.

In addition, the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) said feed and fuel prices have been extensive, and the egg sector has not been spared.

“Feed costs constitute 60% to 70% of total costs, and for small-medium scale producers to find a place in the market, they must do a significant number of deliveries, which increases fuel costs.”

The NAU noted that imported eggs are landing at N$400 to N$500 per box for 12 trays of 30 eggs and competing with local eggs produced at N$700 per box for 12 trays of 30 eggs.

This is creating a disparity and distraction for the local sub-sector, the union said.

“The Namibian poultry sector is supported with a quantitative export restriction; however, the policy is only applicable to poultry meat and not to products such as eggs, thus making the sector very vulnerable.”

According to the union, if the importation of cheap eggs and marathon/traditional chicken continues, most small-scale producers will be driven out of production, layer stock and production will reduce, and the rural economy will be negatively affected.

Key driver

With high unemployment, pay cuts and job losses prevalent in Namibia, poultry farming of especially small- to medium-sized enterprises, has been a key driver in reducing poverty and creating employment, the union said.

According to the NAU, the estimated production value for poultry stood at N$850.6 million in 2017.

“This increased on average to N$1 billion between 2018 and 2020, demonstrating an increase of about 18.5%”

Of the estimated production value, the egg sub-sector contributes about 24%, and over the years, it has been one of the sectors that managed to satisfy local demand sufficiently without relying on imports.

The production of eggs increased significantly by 64.6%, with about 7.5 million eggs produced in 2017. However, that amount increased on average to 12.3 million between 2018 and 2020, it said.

“As an additional source of income, egg producers sell hen layers that have reached their peak production, locally known as marathon or traditional chicken.”

Improving livelihoods

The NAU said assuming a 30% culling rate of 2 kg off-layers at N$57.50 per kg, egg producers obtained about N$12.1 million in 2017 and on average N$ 17.4 million between 2018 and 2020 from selling marathon/traditional chicken.

This, therefore, brings egg producers’ income to N$217 million in 2017 and an average of N$254.3 million between 2018 to 2020.

The egg and marathon/traditional markets have clearly drastically improved and have supported the domestic economy and improved the livelihoods of many, it said.