The Stakes Are High!
The enormous losses incurred by poultry farmers following the Avian Flu Influenza outbreak are telling of the urgency to restructure the sector.
The poultry sector is in ruins with stakeholders struggling to keep afloat following heavy losses incurred from three-months of inactivity caused by the outbreak of Avian Flu Influenza. This was a period of near-suicide for farmers and value chain actors, with some abandoning the line of business.
Information from the Cameroon Poultry Interprofession Organisation, IPAVIC, reveals that the sector suffered losses estimated at FCFA 16 billion, with over 4 million of birds of the over 7.5 million reportedly dead from poor feeding or sold out. So worrisome is the disappearance of broilers/chicks from markets and farms, the organisation states. Projections for the production of broilers was evaluated at 50 million, with Francois Djonou, the President of IPAVIC regretting that output will not even hit 30 million. This is telling of the magnitude of the crisis, with stakeholders stressing that two million day-old chicks are required to meet demand for effective table bird production by the end of the year.
Poultry farmers have stated inter-alia that restructuring the sector entails the availability of enough maize for chicken feed. Maize counts for 65 per cent of feed and over 20,000 metric tonnes are required to revive the sector nation-wide. With over 17,000 tonnes required for the Centre and West Regions alone. This notwithstanding, the supply for maize is limited, with sector actors counting on government f to allow for imports of over 17,000 tonnes to make up for deficit. A complete overhaul of the industry however depends on how well the Competitiveness Committee liaises with the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development and that of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries.
Chicken remains a delicacy in most homes and any feast without is synonymous with throwing water on a deck’s back. End-of-year comes with Christmas, New Year and marriage festivities that are all moments of celebration. Demand is on steady rise each passing year, with IPAVIC President disclosing that over 80,000 table birds were produced last year to meet up with growing demand. Also important is the upcoming second International Poultry Exhibition that is expected to showcase the country’s potential. The stakes are therefore high, and government is examining the expectations of sector actors to reposition the ailing industry.