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A new day dawns for Namibia’s small-scale poultry producers

2019-04-16  Staff Report 2

A new day dawns for Namibia’s small-scale poultry producers
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Deon Schlechter

WINDHOEK - Small-scale and emerging poultry producers are about to enter a new era with Namibians’ appetite for chicken at an all-time high. 

The Poultry Producers’ Association (PPV) has decided to amend its constitution to accommodate small-scale and emerging poultry producers in order to provide better communication between all poultry producers and to strengthen and grow the industry. Good communication between producers is particularly emphasised in terms of effective biosecurity, vaccination programmes, combating diseases and reporting diseases. 

Testimony to a resurgence of the local poultry industry was the fact that more than 80 producers attended an information session after the PPV’s general meeting recently in Windhoek, resulting in lively discussions.

Speakers at the event were Dr Frank Travers of AVIMUNE who talked about biosecurity and diseases such as infectious laryngotracheitis (ILT), avian influenza, while Dr Andrea Klingelhoeffer from the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS) emphasised the importance of vaccination programmes. Louise Clack of Feedmaster introduced their new diagnostic laboratory and Pieter van Niekerk of Namib Poultry Industries talked about industry support. Sponsors for the day were Agribank, Feedmaster and Namib Poultry Industries.  

Family poultry is rarely the sole means of livelihood for the family but is one of a number of integrated and complementary farming activities contributing to the overall well-being of the household. Poultry provides a major income-generating activity from the sale of birds and eggs.

Occasional consumption provides a valuable source of protein in the diet. Poultry also plays an important socio-cultural role in many societies. Poultry keeping uses family labour, and women (who often own as well as look after the family flock) are major beneficiaries. Women often have an important role in the development of family poultry production as extension workers and in vaccination programmes.

 For smallholder farmers in developing countries (especially in low income, food-deficient countries [LIFDC]), family poultry represents one of the few opportunities for saving, investment and security against risk. 
 Poultry is the smallest livestock investment a village household can make. 

There are many opportunities in the industry today. And the really good news for a small- and medium-scale producer is that they can profit from this burgeoning demand by starting their own poultry businesses and earn a sustainable and growing income.

Although at first glance the industry might seem to be dominated by large-scale producers, as many as 25 percent of all broiler chickens supplied to the market are produced by small- and medium-scale growers.
Small-scale producers who are interested in starting their own poultry business must decide which sector of the industry they want to serve. This will determine how they go about setting up a business and making money. One option is to hatch and sell day-old chicks to the big producers.

A second option is to buy day-old chicks and grow them, selling them as fully-grown chickens. Another option is to become involved in the entire process, including slaughtering. Producers can begin with N$20 000 and get a 100 percent return on capital investment within six months. And because chicks take 21 days to hatch, income generation occurs just three weeks after starting. Producers who intend to produce day-old chicks willneed incubators to start a hatchery. 

Selling day-old chicks will provide producers with the fastest method of generating an income, as they will be supplying chicks weekly. They will also be able to get a good profit margin because there is no need to feed the chicks. 
An alternative is to buy day-old chicks and grow them to six weeks, then sell them either as live or slaughtered birds. With this model, producers will need to take into account factors such as feed, medicine, and the facilities required.

2019-04-16  Staff Report 2

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