KABANDA CHULU, Mongu
THERE is no need to import chickens in any form since local farmers are capable of meeting the demand, says Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) executive manager Dominic Chanda.
In an interview yesterday after the annual general meeting for Mongu PAZ branch, Mr Chanda said Zambia has sufficient stocks to supply the local as well as the regional market.
â€œLast year, we produced a total of 73.9 million day-old chicks, of which 64.4 million was consumed by the domestic market while 7.5 million was exported mainly to the DR Congo and 1.9 million chicks were categorised as drowned, meaning that there was no market and the chickens were just killed and ate by the farmers. This shows that the industry is growing and we donâ€™t need importation of chickens in any form,â€ he said.
He said chickens from Zambia had a huge advantage over birds from other countries.
â€œIt is the cheapest source of proteins compared to fish and beef, and our chickens are fed on non-GMO products so government should strictly enforce the ban on GMOs because it will easily contaminate our systems,â€ Mr Chanda said.
During the AGM, Mr Chanda said poultry farmers in Western Province must be supported to penetrate the nearby Angolan market which has a huge potential.
â€œAngola is a huge market for us. Imagine they import live birds from Brazil and South Africa, yet we are just next door. But the biggest challenge is bureaucracy because for one to export, the farmer must get an import permit from the country they intend to export to, that is when the Zambian government can issue an export permit, so getting import permits from Angola has always been difficult,â€ he said.
And vice chairman for Mongu PAZ branch Cletus Mainza said there is need to look at various ways of helping farmers address supply side constraints and the challenges faced in accessing affordable finance.
â€œMost of our members are failing to meet orders required by chain stores like Shoprite, so we want to ensure that farmers are put in groups or zones so that we improve on consistency. This way, they will be giving each other slots. For example, one group can supply this week, the other group also supplies the other week, hence giving time for the chickens to grow. We also advised farmers to pursue other sources of finance like â€˜Bunjimiâ€™ offered by NatSave Bank and ZNFU and the World Bank-funded livestock project which is giving out grants,â€ said Dr Mainza.
KABANDA CHULU, Mongu