KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka
MINISTER of Agriculture Dora Siliya says Government will ensure the local poultry industry is guaranteed shelf space in all major supermarkets in the country.
Ms Siliya said she would also help the local poultry farmers to access foreign markets.
She was speaking when the Poultry Association of Zambia called on her at her office to share the challenges it is facing.
â€œApart from securing guaranteed shelf space in Zambian supermarkets, we will also need to provide trade with the foreign market for your industry,â€ Ms Siliya said.
She said the industry plays a critical role in the provision of nutrition to the nation and that there is need for millers to sacrifice a bit and reduce the price of feed.
Ms Siliya called for a stakeholders meeting next Tuesday for the Poultry Association of Zambia, Zambia Revenue Authority, ministries of Finance, Livestock and Commerce to find a lasting solution to the high cost of feed.
She said it was worrying that most borders are porous and that people are still importing banned meat products such as chickens and offals.
â€œIf we allow chickens being imported into the country, this means someone is losing a job here. It should be us exporting these products,â€ Ms Siliya said.
And Poultry Association of Zambia executive manager Dominic Chanda said the poultry industry had continued to face high costs of feed as a result of the devaluation of the kwacha.
Mr Chanda said feed producers are selling the commodity at export price, yet they use subsidised maize from the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).
â€œSince 2015, price and profitability swings have become an ongoing issue for the industry, and broiler chicken farmers in particular lack the ability to pass on feed costs to the public,â€ he said.
Mr Chanda said that in 2015, the association produced 79 million broiler chickens and that production was reduced in 2016 by 15 percent because of high prices of feed and imports of chicken.
He said the industry, which had created over 80,000 direct jobs, was facing a lot of challenges, especially from imported chickens and lack of market.
KELVIN CHONGO, Lusaka