By Jeremiah Bukasa
The world’s poultry meat consumption stands at 72 per cent of all the world meat consumption according to a research done by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
This striking fact shows the high levels of demand for poultry products on the world’s meat market.
In Zambia, poultry is currently the main meat consumed by the population, totaling an estimated 50 per cent of the total meat consumption in the country.
For this reason, the poultry industry is one of the most important sector in the growth of the country’s economy contrary to the common perception that most people have about it.
The Zambian poultry industry has been one of the fastest growing subsector of the livestock sector, it produces a variety of protein-containing foods such as chickens, eggs and many others.
Here is an insider’s look into the performance of the Zambian poultry industry in the year 2018.
According to Mr. Dominic Chanda, the Executive Manager of the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ), the Zambian poultry industry has grown to move the country from importation of poultry products to a state of self-sufficiency.
The industry generates 5 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an estimated 47 per cent of the livestock GDP.
“The industry has been posting positive growth, we have moved from the time when we use to import Chickens and chicken products including feed to a state where we are self sufficient in production and able to conquer the regional market in terms export” said Mr. Chanda.
He added that the total growth of the poultry industry in 2018 was standing at 89 per cent compared to 75 per cent recorded in 2017.
Despite the growth in production, the poultry industry has had its share of challenges that impeded its growth and development mainly in the first, second and third quarters of 2018.
Mr. Chanda highlighted some of the challenges that encumbered the industry in 2018 and consequently reduced the overall production.
“The broiler subsector, which is the largest and the driver of the poultry industry, recorded a 4.2 per cent reduction, representing 83 million day old broiler chicks produced in 2017 to 80 million produced in 2018,” he said.
He attributed the reduction in production to a corresponding reduction in output and uptake that characterised the first, second and third quarters of 2018 during which the poultry industry faced supply challenges.
He disclosed that the low output and uptake in the 2018 poultry production were mainly influenced by the outbreak of avian influenza that affected eastern, central and southern Africa.
This created fear of losses in many farmers across the country to invest heavily into the broiler subsector production.
The avian influenza affected mostly Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana and South Africa who have not recovered completely from the disease. As a result, most hatcheries kept away from acquiring a huge stoke of broilers.
Mr. Chanda, however, noted that a 10 per cent increase in the production of layers which stood at 37.6 and 41.1 million trays of eggs in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
He attributed this up rise in production to the increase in the number of investors who had broken away from the broiler subsector after the outbreak of avian influenza.
The layer subsector in total contributed 35 and nine per cent export of eggs and chickens respectively especially to the neighbouring DRC.
Mr. Chanda further cited the availability of stock feed offered at affordable prices as one factor that has propelled the growth of the poultry industry in Zambia.
He, however, labelled the unstable fluctuating prices of stock feed on the market as a time bomb that may disrupt the steady growth of the poultry industry in Zambia.
Thus, He has urged the government to find ways of standardising the stock feed price on the Zambian market.
In a nutshell, chicken being one of the cheapest source of protein amongst all the sources of protein is on an ever increasing demand on the market, the question whether the Zambian poultry industry is able to sufficiently supply the population can now be said to be a thing of the past, because the country now stands fully self-sufficient in poultry production. NAIS