Small scale poultry farmers have been highly affected by the volatility of the kwacha against other tradable currencies which has led to local competitive markets and high input prices needed in the agri-business for meat production.
Speaking during an interview with the Lusaka star, Alpha Blessed Poultry Farm Zambia Chief Executive Officer Isaac Sikazwe said the price of chicks which were previously selling at K6.50 is now fetching between K8.50 and K10 due to the continued depreciation of the kwacha.
He also disclosed that most feed production companies have increased their broiler feed prices for starter, grower and finisher. This has led farmers to increase the price of chickens from K45 to K65.
In Bauleni, some poultry businessmen and women are selling chickens at K30 because they feed them on maize bran locally known as gaga, making it difficult for a person who solely depends on feed purchased from Novatek poultry feeds and Namfeed,he said.
Mr. Sikazwe further added that the local poultry market has always been a challenge for small scale poultry farmers because Chinese nationals involved in the business use sophisticated means to grow their chicken which are later sold at cheaper prices despite government’s directive that they should not engage in local businesses that small scale farmers survive on for a living.
He however added that small-scale poultry farmers should add value to their products in order to avoid losses in a competitive market.
He said companies involved in selling day-old chicks should conduct surveys of areas they are selling to in order to avoid flooding the market of one particular area in meeting sales.
Meanwhile, Fairdean Investments Limited proprietor Chrispin Kikuta said in order for farmers to cut on costs they must focus on making their own feedstocks especially the grower and finisher.
Mr. Kikuta urged small-scale poultry farmers to stop selling chickens on credit to their customers as this increases the chances of making losses and decreases the efficiency of the business.
And Agri-business Consultant, Evance Musauti said a lot of small scale poultry farmers engaged in price wars for their chickens lack a well-defined market.
Mr. Musauti said Zambia should take advantage of its huge market potential as most neighbouring countries depend on it for food supplies such as Fish, Maize and Chickens.
Imagine fish from Germany is exported to Congo DR through Namibia, it is disappointing to note that Zambia which is at the center of such opportunities with several fresh water lakes has not taken it into consideration to cut off exports from Germany by being the key player of exports to Congo DR, Angola and Zimbabwe,he said.
He retaliated the need for farmers to be empowered with the market for their chickens and encouraged small-scale poultry farmers to take advantage of the shortage of 4 million birds in the sub-region.