Import ban presents golden opportunity

Small-scale poultry producers in Namibia are urged to form associations to ensure a reliable supply of chicken and eggs to local retailers and get a foot in the door while South African imports are banned.

26 May 2021 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK

The complete ban by Namibia on the import of poultry products from South Africa due to outbreaks of avian influenza in that country offer Namibian producers an opportunity to penetrate the local market.

Agribank’s technical advisor for crops and poultry, Hanks Saisai, says Namibia’s poultry sector has several small-scale farmers that are focused on the production of broilers, eggs and indigenous chickens, all aimed at providing Namibian households with a high-value protein source.

“As poultry imports into the country are restricted, there is an increased demand for poultry products that can be filled by local producers. The restriction offers egg and meat producers a highly awaited opportunity to fill the gap created. An announcement to increase poultry products by the Namib poultry industry presents another opportunity to local producers,” he says.

Price pressure

According to Saisai, small producers often struggle to get access to formal markets due to fierce competition, as the prices of imported poultry products are usually cheaper than local products.

Another issue of constraint for local producers is the volumes of poultry products that they are able to produce and deliver to formal markets, as well as the consistency in delivery schedules.

He says local poultry producers are encouraged to seize this opportunity to ensure that they can supply the market demand needs of poultry products.

Since the sector has many emerging farmers, it is recommended that they form producer groups.

“With these groups, producers are then able to form associations that can co-supply the formal market whilst doing so in an organised manner that will allow packaging and branding of products.”

Saisai says when trading in formal markets, poultry producers are encouraged to take into account the volume (quantity) and consistency in delivery of products as key factors that must be adhered to.

Unreliable supply can harm small-scale producers, as the retail sector will view them as a potential risk in their product supply chain.

“To enjoy a lucrative market share of this opportunity created by the outbreak, local producers are hereby advised to vaccinate their chicken flocks and to ensure that the right feed is provided to chickens throughout their production cycles.”

Safety in numbers

He says during the period of the ban, small-scale farmers are encouraged to form associations that can at least be able to supply the big retailers with poultry products that are as good as the imports.

“Remember, transport costs, import levies and border tax charges are some costs that retail sector markets incur during the process of importing poultry products. If we can supply adequate poultry products to meet the demand of the local market, we can easily convince retail sector to buy home grown chickens,” says Saisai.

Bird flu was first detected in one commercial poultry farm in South Africa on 9 April.

Namibia subsequently suspended the importation from that specific commercial farm (compartment) on 15 April.

However, South Africa have reported that eight more commercial farms became infected with avian influenza since the index case.

Since the induction period of the disease is 21 days as per the World Organisation for Animal Health standards, the suspension takes effect 21 days prior to the start date of the outbreak.

In this case, the outbreak was recorded on 9 April, therefore the start of the suspension is on 19 March.

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