OUTAPI – The cost of poultry feed is the major challenge to local poultry farming. This revelation came during the first ever Poultry Farmers Day held at Outapi a fortnight ago.
At the event that took place at farm Horizon at Anamulenge village in Outapi Constituency, farmers discussed possible steps that need to be taken to minimise the portion of imported chicken and other poultry products in the country. At the moment, Namibia imports about 50 percent of the poultry products consumed locally, including eggs and meat. Some such products come from as far as Brazil. This situation is however attributed to the cost of poultry feed, sourced by feed distributors from outside the country and sold at high prices. As a result, local farmers are also forced to farm with less birds and sell them at very high prices.
Olive Manungo of GIZ’s Common Land Development project said there is a pressing need for locals farmers to produce poultry feed locally for farmers to reduce high production cost incurred in feed by the farmers. Manungo says Namibia’s poultry farming can only change for the better and become profitable if farmers venture into local production of feed. He adds that the local demand for chicken and poultry produce is high, but the local market does not have enough to offer. “Let us look at producing feeds locally. Farmers should venture into producing soybeans, sunflower, yellow maize and others. Let us produce efficiently in order to sell cheaper products. Poultry is nutrition, poultry is food, poultry is protein,” he says.
Manungo maintains poultry farmers stand a greater chance to contribute greatly to the country’s economy and job creation.
Apart from chicken farming it also supports aquaculture and other agricultural ventures. “Chicken droppings can be used as fish feed in aquaculture and manure for plants. If you want to farm with chicken you’ll prosper,” he says.
Manungo further encourages farmers to explore further the use of alternative medicine, as opposed to generic medicine, which also contribute to the high price of poultry products in the country, while at the same time emulating top local farmers such as Michael Mulunga, who according to Manungo has taken a further step in poultry farming.
Trophy Shoombe who represented Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry said poultry farming is a viable business that can prosper, regardless of the economic situation. “In the event of economic downturn, people will still need to eat eggs and meat,” says Shoombe, urging the government and other relevant bodies to intervene by assisting upcoming farmers with access to finances and training.
A number of farmers who attended the event urged the organiser, Natangwe David, owner of farm Horizon to consider making the event an annual one. Farm Horizon was also joined by Feed Master and GIZ. Apart from networking and information sharing, poultry farming equipment were also on display and sold at the event.