Significance of the poultry industry
Published On June 28, 2017 » 2670 Views» By Diran Chama » Business, Columns
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ONE of the fastest growing businesses which involve a wider range of small businesses in the country today is the poultry industry.
This is according to Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) chief executive officer, Dominic Chanda.
The poultry industry has created over 83,000 jobs most of them at small-scale farming level.
These are employed at various levels in the value chain like breeder farms (producing eggs for hatching),  hatcheries (producing chicks) as well as distributors of feed and day old chicks through  agro-shops (
Others are broiler and egg producers, chicken and egg marketing both for retail chain-stores and open markets, stockfeed production through milling, maize and soyabeans production, through small scale farmers, vaccines and drug distribution (agroshops)  centres as well as poultry equipments.
The industry is said to be contributing about four per cent to Gross Domestic Product {GDP} and above 47 per cent of the total livestock budget in the live stock sector.SMEs coener -  new
According to Mr Chanda, 65 per cent of the total broiler productions are grown by the small-scale farmers and about 20-30 per cent of the eggs production still falls under small-scale farmers.
“Visit any hatchery such as Ross Breeder, Tiger chicks, Quantum Foods, Zamhatch etc you will find people employed.  Visit any chicken run you will find at least one to two people working, visit any agro dealer two to three people are employed.
“Visit any chicken processor like crest chickens, Supremes, Zamchick, Southern Chicken etc you will see people being employed etc”, says Mr Chanda.
The growing of the primary agriculture products such as soya beans and maize by small scale farmers is also to some extent influenced by the poultry industry in the sense that they are a key raw materials in the poultry stockfeed.
The poultry industry is to a larger extent dependant on maize and soya beans.
Mr Chanda says that the industry has consistently been posting positive growth since 2009 until end of 2015.
The whole of 2016 was a challenging year due to a number of factors such as the devaluation of currency (the process which started in the second half of 2015) which is a key factor in stockfeed production.
He indicated that key inputs such as soyabeans and premixes are directly affected by the exchange rate.
In addition to the exchange rate, the maize prices which were affected by export parity prices as the regional demand for maize influenced the domestic maize price.
Other issues included load-shedding which forced a number of processors to start using diesel as a source of power and that this was in addition to market price hike  for both chicken and eggs.
Resulting from that, farmer margins reduced by over 48 per cent and forced a number of farmers out of production especially in layers and broiler subsector.
According to Mr Chanda by the end of 2016, the broiler industry contracted by 4.8 per cent while the layers subsectors was the most hit subsector with 26 per cent reduction in egg production.
The future outlook for the industry looks brighter as the prices of stockfeed has started coming down based on the anticipated maize bumper harvest which is projected at 3.6 Milion tonnes and soyabeans production projected at 350,000 tonnes.
Although the millers still have huge stocks of maize and soyabeans which was contracted at higher prices last year, the coming of the new maize and soya crop will help cushion the prices for the miller and
push the benefits to the poultry farmers.
While farmers who grew soya beans last season will cry foul because of the drastic drop in prices the people in the poultry industry will be smiling in that the expected fall in the prices of soya beans and maize which are the major raw materials into stockfeed production will reduce the cost of production.
It is anticipated that major millers who manufacture stock feeds will respond positively and reduce the prices further for the benefits of entire industry.
In terms of policy issues that will help keep the prices of soyacake down include the measures to restrict importation of finished edible oil which competes direct with the locally produced edible oil, resulting in reduced soyabeans crushing and this pushes the price of soyacake up as the fundamental economic principal of supply and demand kicks in.
The outbreak of avian influenza (H5N8) is also posing a great danger to the poultry industry as it is has now affected three countries in the region, Zimbabwe, DR-Congo and South Africa.
This has resulted in the government banning the importation of chicken and chicken products from the affected countries.
Looked at from another angle, this will create an opportunity for local poultry farmers and those running the chicken run in their backyard.
The Zambian SMEs should take advantage of this!
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