BENIN – The Minister for Benin’s Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Gaston Dossouhoui, has announced the government’s intent to stop the import of frozen chicken and eggs from abroad by 2024.

Speaking in a meeting, Gaston said that the delay before the ban gives players in the sector the opportunity to develop their production to take advantage of future economic opportunities.

The Benin government believes that this approach is also part of a strategy aimed at developing the production of a “chicken bicycle” (an indigenous breed of rustic and resistant poultry) to stimulate the local supply of meat.

If this ban materializes, Benin will join Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Senegal on the list of West African countries that apply restrictions on poultry imports.

While the prospect of this measure is already delighting the poultry industry, some observers are waiting to see the accompanying measures that will be implemented over the next few months.

These measures will involve increasing the supply of day-old chicks on the domestic market for meat production as well as the local supply of the actors in strains of laying hens.

In Benin, poultry farming is a key economic activity in the livestock sub-sector. As in most countries on the continent, this sector must deal with strong competition linked to the influx of poultry at low prices from the world market.

Live chickens, hens, poultry meat, and eggs for consumption in the country are subject to the 20% Common External Tariff (CET), which facilitates an influx of cheap poultry imports from the European Union (EU).

Although the current information about the poultry industry in Benin is limited, live turkeys and other poultry, reproducers, and hatching eggs are subject to a 5% tariff.

In the late 1990s, Benin experienced an influx of cheap poultry products primarily from the EU. By 2002, annual poultry imports reached approximately 24,000 tons, more than the poultry imports of any other country in West Africa.

In 2004 and 2005, Benin banned imports of poultry and poultry by-products from countries affected by avian influenza.

According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Demography (INStad), in 2021 Benin imported approximately 115,800 tonnes of meat and edible offal, fresh, chilled or frozen from poultry for a value of nearly 60 billion CFA francs (US$100 million).

For all the latest food industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.