TANZANIA – Tanzania is facing a chicken shortage with rising retail prices, months after banning importation of poultry from its neighbours in the East African Community.
Speaking to The EastAfrican, Tanzania Poultry Breeders Association secretary General Manase Mrindwa said that some firms had stopped production of day-old chicks, leading to a shortage of broilers and layers.
According to breeders, the shortage was attributed to the high import duties on parent-stock, which produces fertilized eggs.
Tanzania is said to have also failed to ratify an East African Community (EAC) treaty that allows regional countries to allow the sharing of veterinary services.
The Mutual Recognition Agreement for East African Vets which came into effect in 2016 provides that any EAC member state can import or export chicken and livestock within the region as long as the animals have been tested by a veterinary professional from any of the signatory countries.
Its failure to approve the agreement has made it difficult for other EAC member states to export chicken to Tanzania.
Tanzania imposed a ban on the importation of chicks and fresh poultry meat from the US to protect the farmers from what it termed as cheap imports from farmers who enjoy subsidies from the government.
In April, poultry breeders in Tanzania asked the government to block imports of poultry and its products to protect their business, saying they had the capacity to supply about 85% of the local market needs.
Despite stringent measures, day-old chicks and eggs from Kenya, Zambia, South Africa and Brazil have been penetrating the local market.
Government authorities in Arusha destroyed 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya through the Namanga border crossing in October last year.
In 2007, Tanzania banned chick importation.
Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries said that the Tanzania government is looking to launch special training on poultry breeding, targeting to raise household incomes.
He said the government will regulate prices of animal feeds to attract more poultry breeders through cheaply available, animal foods.
Tanzania has an estimated chicken population of 32 million commercially bred birds, 24 million broilers and eight million layers.
According to Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries records, production capacity for egg and meat broiler chicken is 750,000 per week against an official demand estimate of over 3.7 million per week.
The country’s per capita consumption of chicken is estimated at 15kg per year.