The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), in its latest Third Quarter Agri-Review 2022, has revealed that the country has advanced in poultry products production, but the sector is under threat from a high influx of poultry meat and products, including eggs.
Researcher Beata Xulu revealed in the report that the country’s poultry sector grew by more than 40% from 2017 to 2021.
However, the sector “is presently under threat from a high influx of poultry meat and products (including eggs), causing the surplus supply of local products and leading to a cut in production mainly for egg producers”.
As a result, the high importation of poultry meat and products (including eggs) is halting the growth achieved so far by the sector, such that if this continues local egg production could cease, the union warned in the report.
The report did not go further to reveal why the country’s consumers are bypassing local production and opting to reward external producers.
The Villager Business Desk can also not find an assessment by the ministry of industrialisation, trade and SME development why it continues to issue permits for poultry imports.
Players and observers in the sectors who have been contacted maintained that there are various aspects at play.
The first one is dumping from countries such as Brazil and other European producers.
The poultry dumping in SACU was confirmed by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) in the middle of this year. As a result, ITAC requested the relevant authorities to impose provisionalanti-dumping measures on imports of these products for six months.
Another reason cited by the observers is that the country’s public procurement law is at fault as big consumers of poultry products in the public sector are reluctant to support local industry and opt to send taxpayers’ money outside.
Another reason given is the lack of food standards in general and for poultry meat such as the brine level, which the country can use to control imports.
Furthermore, the government’s directive to source locally, which include poultry products, has was never been enforced.
Local chickens and eggs are now flooding the informal markets and being sold on the WhatsApp platform as supply increases.
The agricultural insights from the Namibia Statistics Agency showed that from January 2022 to the end of June 2022 Namibia imported live chickens worth N$14 million.
During the same period, the country also imported about N$500,7 million of chicken meat.
According to NAU researchers, local egg production increased significantly by 64.1%, from about 7.5 million eggs in 2017 to an average of 12,2 million eggs between 2018 and 2021.
Due to stiff competition from imports, the industry had to scale down.
“Egg producers had to cut production by more than 50% and had to lay off employees,” Xulurevealed.
The poultry sector has asserted its importance to the agricultural and Namibian economy, by producing products to the value of N$1,2 billion (2021), and by securing a market share between 15% and 18% during trying economic times, especially during the pandemic when people lost their jobs.
In 2017, the sector had an estimated production value of N$850.65 million but grew by more than 40% to reach the 2021 values of N$1,2 billion.
According to the NAU assessment, about 800 persons are directly employed in the sector, meaning the sector supports at least 3 200 dependants.
The sector has also many small-scale producers that are not documented.
The advancement of, and investment in, the sector is however under threat from a high influx of poultry meat and products (including eggs).
Xulu has also revealed that local egg producers had to cut production by more than 50% and had to lay off employees in 2022.
Currently, the country has no protection for eggs, making the sub-sector very vulnerable.
As for the broiler production, it grew by 32.4% from about 21 325 tonnes of meat produced in 2017 to an average of 28 225 tonnes between 2018 and 2021.
“The poultry scheme has to a great extent contributed to the growth of the broiler sub-sector,” she wrote.
NAU has indicated that the poultry sector is vulnerable to imported feed cost as with most agricultural sectors in Namibia. The imported feed prices of which have increased significantly.
Xulu highlighted that the small-medium scale producers are more vulnerable to the slightest upward movement in feed costs, given that 60 – 75% of total poultry production costs are feed costs.
The Villager Business Desk has also learned that conversations are going on in the ministry of industrialisation, trade and SME development regarding the sector to stop the influx and to ensure local sourcing from big public consumers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org