WINDHOEK - A mammoth task awaits the Poultry Production Association to increase its production by 30 percent in just two years if it is to achieve the ultimate goal of Vision 2030 to become a totally self-sufficient industry that can produce more than 53 000 tonnes of broilers by 2020.
This was revealed recently during a poultry and egg information day of the Poultry Production Association in Windhoek where international and local speakers informed attendants about the strategies of moving towards independence.
In light of the urgency with which the local sector has to move, hordes of poultry farmers are expected to pitch up on July 2 to July 4 in Ondangwa for Agra’s three-day course, which will inform them about all aspects of this type of farming which is ideal for small-scale farmers.
Agra says that poultry farming is becoming more important to create sustainable livelihoods for many farmers and other stakeholders who are looking for new, innovative ways to earn a good income and also to feed people as food insecurity is and will remain the biggest global issue.
The three-day course will include housing and equipment for poultry, feeding plan, including how to supplement own feeds, handling of eggs, small chickens and fully-grown chickens, hatching of eggs using different methods, common feeds, biosecurity and safety, disease management and vaccination programmes, break-even analysis and the marketing of poultry.
By upping the current production of 40 827 broilers per annum to some 53 100 per annum, Namibia will also have to increase its egg production from layers from the current 200 000 eggs per day to some 364 000 and reduce industry insecurity from the current 25 percent to below 12 percent.
“We will have to create a diversified, open market economy in terms of quality and differentiation and become self-sufficient. The ultimate aim is to become an export country of a vast range of poultry products,” James Roux, a member of the Poultry Production Association and owner of Osona Eggs, observes.
Chicken farming is a “low-hanging fruit” for Namibia to create employment in the short and medium term. “This is not the time to learn, this is the time to implement,” says Maria Lisa Immanuel, professional assistant in the Office of the Prime Minister.
“In tough times like this, policymakers should focus and prioritise those ‘low-hanging fruit’ initiatives, which make economic sense and have great potential to create employment. One such initiative is to stimulate poultry production in the country.
“Poultry farming comes with untapped business opportunities carrying great potential to create employment across the entire value chain and consequently drive rural industrialisation. The poultry industry forms an integral part of the agro-processing sector.
“This sector offers significant potential to increase value addition, create jobs, income and export opportunities to enhance food security and reduce dependency on imports and hence, has been prioritised by the government through various policy initiatives,” she noted.
Poultry production is in its infancy in Namibia. Until 2012, Namibia imported all its poultry products. The government under the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development decided to protect the industry through quantitative restriction measures using the Import and Export Act, No. 30 of 1994. The quantitative restriction gives room for new poultry production initiatives to set themselves up without major threats from imports.
Roux says: “We have to revamp our way of thinking and start adding value to poultry products. Poultry products are not just meat, eggs and milk. We have to urgently look at diversifying and also pay attention to our packaging of products and marketing strategies.”
Roux also notes that the growth and expansion of the SME sector within the poultry industry need serious attention. “We need more entrepreneurs and we need to diversify. We need to create these initiatives by better education and development programmes in especially rural areas. It is vital that value is added to the poultry chain and for Namibia to take the existing produce to the next level of manufacturing.
Investments should be made in layer chicken cage systems, broiler chicken cage systems, baby chick cage systems, breeding chicken cage systems, poultry eggs inkjet printers and poultry egg grading packing machines.”
“We must also think about putting up manufacturing plants for mayonnaise and salad dressings as well as egg powder. Egg powder can be distributed to hostels at schools and by just adding water, students could enjoy scrumptious scrambled eggs in a jiffy,” he adds.