The demand for poultry products is steadily rising in many African countries. A demand growth of more than 60% is expected over the next 20 years. As such, production growth must follow. The next move for East-African countries is to overcome the challenges facing their poultry industry.
Many opportunities for farmers and agro-processing companies worldwide were discussed at the Poultry in East-Africa Event symposium featured farmers and ambassadors from Rwanda and Uganda. The symposium was headed by the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC) and VIV worldwide.
Uganda has strong potential in its poultry sector. According to Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda Embassy in Brussels accredited to Europe, Mirjam Blaak Sow, “We have a very liberal economic system. Our economic growth is currently an average of 5.4% annually, which will increase due to the oil and gas discoveries.” However, there is a lack of skills, knowledge and capital to put effective infrastructure in place. Furthermore, climate change is greatly impacting the sector. The government could respond to this in a number of ways. Anzoa Clara Aya, A Ugandan farmer who attended the symposium suggested that the government, “eliminate or reduce taxes on poultry products, facilities and other inputs and give grants to support commercial poultry farmers, strengthen the National Poultry Farmers Network or consortium to promote poultry business.”
In Rwanda, poultry is integral to the community. However, the majority of their poultry is imported. Jean Pierre Karabaranga, ambassador of the Republic of Rwanda in the Netherlands shows that despite being a massive consumer of poultry products, Rwanda imports “no less than 70% of these products from other African countries. We now import 50% of our poultry products from Uganda. We have too few poultry companies in our country and want poultry farmers from the rest of the world to come to us. Like Uganda, we would also like a poultry industry, but builders and designers are also welcome.” Thus, there is a large need for the Rwandan poultry sector to build and become self-sufficient. Jean Claude Ruzibiza, a poultry farmer in Rwanda and president of the country’s national poultry association argues that there needs to be greater focus on professionalism in the poultry industry, more research into effective management, and greater development of practical skills of students who will become the future workforce. Issues facing the Rwandan poultry sector include a lack of experienced labour, the availability of layer/broiler chicks and the high feed prices.
Looking towards the future:
Rabobank Senior Animal Protein Analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder says that “Driven by a rising middle class and rapid urbanisation, a more modern poultry industry is taking shape in Africa”. He continues by explaining that “The growing middle class is changing its consumption patterns, moving from vegetable-based consumption to a more protein-rich diet. In this shifting diet, poultry and eggs are the protein of choice for African consumers—as these protein sources are affordable and available, but also because consumers prefer the taste of chicken and eggs over other proteins. Poultry availability is supported by the short payback times for poultry and egg production, making poultry production easier to start up and expand.” As a result, investments are steadily entering the region. There is currently a trend of building a smarter poultry value chain, encompassing breeding, grow-out farms and processing facilities. Opportunities for international investment can be seen in many areas of poultry production, such as: meat processing; breeding; equipment; animal nutrition; and grains & oilseeds.
For investment to be successful, it would require a pioneering spirit, a good market and risk assessment, capable local partners and patience, as investment risks can be high. The Eastern African industry is expected to develop fast, and some countries like Uganda and Kenya have the potential to become a regional trade hub over the next few years
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