How lack of proper know-how affects poultry keepers in Tanzania

Saturday May 21 2022
Poultry pix
By Hadija Jumanne

Dar es Salaam. There are factors that make poultry farmers fail to realise good results in their business even as many more keep joining.

According to poultry farmer Sarah Kulanga, who lives in Mbezi Ward on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, one of the factors is that some poultry farmers lack know-how of poultry farming, resulting in their failure in properly feeding the chickens as well as failing to administer proper vaccination.

Due to that, Kulanga and fellow poultry farmer Lusekelo Mwasota of Mbeya Region have advised the government to see how it could find a solution to the problem for the sake of the development of the poultry sector and how it could support the poultry farmers to reduce the rate of losses they get.

Kulanga says in 2018 she received training on modern poultry management from Silverlands Tanzania Company that provided her with 500 chicks and 10 bags of poultry feeds on loan.

“I received that training at their college in Iringa Region and thereafter I started undertaking poultry farming after getting a capital of Sh375,000, whereby I got 500 chicks and 10 bags of poultry feeds,” she says. She adds: “The training that I have received has enabled me to get profits and how modernly I could run poultry farming.”

She says she can earn Sh1.5 million as a profit per month because she rears her chicken by following the instructions of poultry experts.

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Apart from being able to build her own house through poultry farming, she feels proud that she covers costs of education for her three children, some in university.

For his part, Lusekelo says he started poultry farming with 49 chicken after getting a capital of Sh490,000.

“In the beginning I was getting losses in poultry farming, but after getting training my poultry farming has significantly changed,” says Lusekelo, who keeps sasso chicken.

Training for poultry farmers

Silverlands Tanzania Company Ltd marketing manager Mwanamvua Ngocho says due to that challenge they decided to offer a special training on modern poultry management for the benefits of all those people interested in poultry farming.

She says the aim of offering the training was to equip the poultry farmers with sufficient skills and knowledge and to enable them to access to a reliable market and hence avoiding losses caused by the deaths of chicks.

Ngocho explains that more than 2,700 people have benefited from the training that started to be given in 2016 and they are now running their poultry projects using modern practices.

According to Ngocho, the training has minimised the trouble the poultry farmers were getting as they earlier did not know how best they could feed their chicken, which sometimes resulted in getting losses for not knowing the proper amount of food for their chicken.

“You know chickens are supposed to eat in proper amounts and that’s why we have decided to give training for all those people interested in modern poultry farming with the aim of making them know how best to tend to their chicken,’’ she said.

For example, she says, a one-week-old chick is supposed to be given 15 grams of food per day and it will consume a total of 105 grams of food per week.

“So, if you have no knowledge about modern poultry farming, it will be hard for you to know how best you could serve your chicken.

“This is because you will not know the proper amount of food to give your chicken and which measure to use. And we are aware that chickens have a very bad habit because they will eat food even though they have had enough and as a result you will get a loss instead of a profit.

Besides offering the training, she says they hatch chicks of sasso breed that lay eggs when they are four and a half months old and a sasso hen can lay up to 240 eggs in all its period of laying eggs.

“A sasso cock can reach seven kilos in weight while a hen of the same breed can start laying eggs when it is four and a half months old, laying up to 240 eggs in all its period of laying eggs while a local hen lays 60 eggs,” says Ngocho.

Dr Ben Moshi, the chairman of Silverlands Tanzania Company Ltd, says for now they serve at least 19 regions across the country by selling their products to 134,000 poultry farmers from whom, 75 percent are women.

Livestock sector

According to a two-day meeting of stakeholders in livestock and fisheries sectors, which was held on September 7-8, 2021, Tanzania was mentioned as having a huge number of livestock including chickens.

The number of cattle was mentioned as being 33.9 million; goats (24.5 million); sheep (8.5 million); pigs (3.2 million) and chickens were 87.7 million from which 47.34 million were modern breeds of chicken and 40.36 million were local chicken.

Despite the poultry sector contributing seven percent to Gross Domestic Product (DGP), the consumption of livestock products has been minimal.

For example, meat consumption per person annually is 15 kilos, milk drinking (47 litres) and eggs (106) and when compared to the standards of the Food and Agriculture Organisation ( FAO-2011) it is 50 kilos of meat, 200 litres of meat and 300 eggs per person annually.