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African Poultry Wrap: Africa Starts to Protect Poultry Markets, Boost Local Producers

AFRICA - African poultry markets are on the rise, and governments in countries such as Ghana and South Africa are seeking to capitalise on this through measures aimed at protecting hard pressed local producers, while also opening up to imports from other producers such as the US, reports Tawanda Korombo for ThePoultrySite. South Africa, which has finally agreed to allow chicken imports from the US, is investigating measures to protect its local market from oversupply by European Union (EU) member countries. South Africa is a big poultry market that is also strategically positioned for feed into regional countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Botswana and others. A government gazette published this month highlighted that the continent's second largest economy was mulling measures to restrict boned chicken portions from the EU. SA has already imposed duties aimed at curbing dumping produce from the EU. The South African Poultry Producers Association complained that EU sourced bone-in chicken products were "threatening to cause a serious disturbance in the South African market". Producers in the country had failed to stop the SA government from allowing imports from the US under a trade deal that could have attracted heavy trade penalties if President Jacob Zuma's government had failed to open its doors for the imports. However, the Association of Meat Importers and Exporters of South Africa said it was ready to handle over 60,000 tonnes of poultry destined for South Africa from the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that President Barack Obama's administration is pushing. "There's a lot of poultry on the water at the moment. We expect arrival in the next two weeks, which means we will meet our March deadline very easily," Deon Wolport, an executive with the SA meat importers and exporters association said. Zambia, which is in the same region with South Africa, is boosting its poultry industry and has called on investors to sink money into the lucrative industry. Jonathan Simwawa, export development director for the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) said the poultry sector in Zambia provided immense opportunities but was being held back by lack of adequate funding to boost capacity and further develop it. "Zambians consume a lot of poultry products which makes the sector very attractive for investment especially, that there is a huge market for poultry products locally and in the sub-region," said Mr Simwawa. Zambia is also a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), two massive markets that have potential for about 480 million consumers. He said: "Zambia (should be) the first investment destination as it is strategically located with eight neighbouring countries and the COMESA and SADC market in addition to the local market." In west Africa, Ghana's Ministry of Food and Agriculture is taking measures to reduce imported poultry products in the country. Other countries in the west African region are grappling with illegal imports of chicken and other poultry products such as eggs. The Agriculture Ministry in Ghana said foreign producers were supplying about 58 per cent of the country's poultry needs while local producers accounted for a paltry 42 per cent. Restricting foreign poultry products imported into the country will help local producers boost their output. "The policy is part of measures that we are putting in place to make sure that we have a future where we do not import unemployment and export employment but we have a future where employment is created in our country by reviving the poultry industry," said Dr Hannah Bissiw, Ghana's Deputy Agriculture Minister. A poultry producers grouping, the Dormaa Poultry Farmers Association, in Ghana said this month said however that producers were facing challenges in marketing their products, especially eggs. The association's chairman, Nana Sebreku, said the local producers, in association with the National Association of Poultry Farmers, was working on establishing a broiler processing and preservation plant in the region. In Gambia, poultry producer, Amadou Demba, says poultry production is the fastest growing industry in the country. Financial companies such as Reliance Financial Services are helping producers with funding to boost their productive capacity. "I would like all Gambians to invest in poultry production, and we want more investors to invest in poultry production," he said.

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