While local poultry production has been steadily increasing over the last five years, with significant growth specifically emanating from numerous SMEs and a few medium-scale producers, a recent poultry ban has the potential to prove the country can be self-sustainable in terms of demand.
The biggest national poultry producer, Namibia Poultry Industries (NPI) has therefore called on all poultry producers in the country to use the opportunity brought about by the suspension of poultry importation to show that Namibia can be self-sufficient and meet total local demand. Poultry imports were recently suspended by Namibia’s Chief Veterinary Officer in the agriculture ministry, Albertina Shilongo. The suspension affects the in-transit movement of live poultry, birds, and poultry products following the outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in some European countries.
According to International Trade Specialist at NPI, Arwil Viviers, the local demand for poultry products may increase due to the number of European countries which was included in the poultry import ban. However, he noted that “luckily Namibia has its own, functioning poultry industry and is not completely reliant on imports. Local production should see an increase, which is positive for the current economic situation,” Viviers stated.
He explained that Namibia is one of the most effective and efficient poultry producers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, with excellent production statistics when compared to international poultry industries.
In absolute terms, Viviers noted that Namibia is a very small country with a young industry, but this has not prohibited the country’s poultry industry from growing, evolving, and coping with challenges faced.
“Therefore, the industry should know that it is an important cog in the Namibian economy in terms of both food security and financial contribution. So, the local producers should keep the faith, continue to operate and provide the Namibian public with chicken products and create jobs by doing so,” he urged.
Viviers continued that the import ban along with the Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have local industries, not only for food security but also for the economic security of the country. He pointed out that local industries, such as the poultry industry, ensure that there is food in the country and that this food is affordable through creating jobs and stimulating economic activity.
“Seeing the Avian Influenza outbreak in Europe should make us think why we consume products from those countries in the first place when we have the same products being produced right at home by our own people? Supporting local has never been as important as it has been right now,” Viviers emphasised.