Thursday, October 12, 2017

YOUR BUSINESS IS OUR BUSINESS: Tap into the huge poultry potential to industrialise


By Karl Lyimo

When Tanzania banned commercial imports of chicken and poultry products from the US in 2006, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise for a country hankering after meaningful, sustainable Industrialisation on the ground!

Perhaps what should be surprising is that the ‘Mighty US’ was seeking to have the ban lifted a decade later – to no avail!

Indeed, the Tanzania Govt. had seen it fit to ban poultry imports to protect domestic poultry farmers against unfair competition from cheap, Government-subsidised‘American’ poultry! [See ‘US urges Tanzania to lift ban on chicken imports.’; July 4, 2017].

Talk of a modern-day ‘Econo-Military Goliath’(read ‘President Donald Trump’s America’) having to plead with Tanzania to resume thepoultry business that’s calculatingly-lopsized in US favour!It’s a case of the puny‘David of the Econo-Military Slingshot-calibre’ thumbing up his nose (for lack of better phraseology) at the self-styled ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave!’

Indeed, I’d never given much thought to the Tanzanian poultry business, which includes chickens, ducks and turkeys!But then, the Poultry business deserves better today... After all, it’s a potentially-prospective Industry with considerable beneficial developmental opportunities.

For an establishment to deserve the adjective ‘Industrial,’it must be characterised by highly-developed qualities of systematic labour, skills and technologies – or suitable combinations thereof – in the creation of value in a given craft,art, manufacturing or business in general. All this is, of course, in terms of the production of valuable goods and/or services provision.

Although ‘Poultry-farming’ – the sub-sub-Sector of the Livestock sub-Sectorof the ‘mother’ Agriculture Sectorof the larger Economy– is still in its nascent stages, it’s nonetheless a relatively major source of family/household food and income in Tanzania!

The country currently boasts 69m domisticated birds, 37m of them in household backyards, and 32m in commercial farming: 24m broilers; 8m layers! [; December 16, 2016].

It’s estimated that Agriculture contributes around 30 per cent of Tanzania’s GDP – with 18 per cent of that coming from Livestock, 3 per cent of which is from the Poultry sub-sub-Sector. Therefore, poultry contributes something like 1 per cent of the total GDP! [index.php/focus-area/poultry>].

By way of elaboration, ‘indigenous chicken farming’ in Tanzania – call it ‘chicken-keeping,’ really, not ‘state-of-the-art farming’ – is largely done by rustics, whereby 3.7m out of the 4.7m agricultural households routinely rear chickens! But, while the meat is almost exclusively for rural consumption, only a measly 20 per cent of the eggs find their way into urban markets.

On the other hand, commercial poultry-farming includes breeder farms, hatcheries, poultry farms (for both layers and broilers), processors and traders. This way, the sub-sub-Sector is a good jobs-creater, with a competitive advantage as a proteins source compared with four-legged livestock: cattle, goats, sheep, pigs...

Clearly, then, Poultry-farming has a huge potential in Tanzania– what with considerable land availability to grow grain and soya for poultry-feeding. In fact poultry meat production rose from 93,534 tonnes in Year-2010/11 to 99,540 tonnes in 2014/2015. [c.f. ‘Total Meat Production,’ which rose from 503,496-to-597,757 tonnes in those five years!

But, that growth rate isn’t commensurate with the poultry industry potential, including comparative advantages! Put another way: Poultry-farming isn’t really ‘for the birds’ – pun unintended here! – and, as such, must be promoted more vigorously in this day and age of industrialisation.

So, establishing the Tanzania Poultry Breeders Association in 2011 was a step in the right direction, aimed at promoting, developing and safeguarding poultry industry stakeholder interests every which way. But, it’ll take more than that to develop the country’s Poultry industry on a meaningful and sustainable basis....

Perhaps we should sooner than later call in PPPs (Public/Private Partnerships), BRN (Big Results Now Initiative), etc?Thie is a wake-up call to exercise the Industrialisation options options... Cheers!