The Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) has highlighted a number of risks the country’s government must investigate despite the healthy growth of its poultry industry. The industry has grown from N$536 million to N$1.2 billion in just five years; this equates to a growth rate of 124%.
According to the Namibia Statics Agency (NSA), the country imported approximately N$1.2 million in poultry products in 2019. In 2020 however, imports dropped to N$839.7 million as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand for eggs also decreased as the virus curtailed tourism-related activities. As a result, prices had to be reduced to encourage the surplus of eggs to be sold via the informal market.
However, due to a supply shortage in the beef business, the growing sector stepped up to meet the need for protein in the country. High feed prices also harmed Namibia’s poultry industry in 2021 as the number of producers began increasing due to the market gaining mobility.
Demand for cheaper protein
“Due to high red meat prices, the need for cheaper protein increased towards the end of the year, with a simultaneous increase in demand,” said René Werner, Poultry Producers Association (PPA) during a briefing.
He added that 15 new poultry producers have joined the association in the past year, and this illustrates the industry is thriving despite the challenges.
The NAU‘s constitution was also altered to allow even the smallest chicken breeders to join, resulting in tremendous growth.
Currently, inexpensive imports of chicken and poultry products into Namibia are threatening this industry, which will have a detrimental impact on the domestic market and, even worse, would strike SMEs considerably harder.
“There is a voice in numbers and as a union, we intend approaching the minister on the issue of the huge and cheap imports of eggs into the country which is killing the industry,” said Bertha Iyambo, NAU agricultural economist.
Small businesses are more likely to lose customers to cheaper imports.
“We, therefore, ask the government to investigate this matter and safeguard the local poultry sector from collapse,” she added.
ALSO READ: FAO offers Namibian farmers support during locust outbreak