MOROCCO – The US Grains Council (USGC) in collaboration with the Moroccan Federation of Poultry Associations (FISA) have unveiled a training program to build regional poultry capacity in West Africa, possibly for imports.

The programme involves producers in West Africa who will be trained on how to improve their businesses including imports of feed grains and co-products from sources like the United States.

Sales have already started to Senegal and Nigeria, which imported 245,000 metric tons of U.S. corn in the 2016/2017 marketing year, according to USGC.

The Council has already held the first of three training programs scheduled this year in Morocco with a focus on the region’s expanding poultry industry.

USGC said the programme which took place in May in Casablanca, Morocco brought together 13 poultry producers from Benin and Togo for training in broiler management and layer production techniques.

While more than half of the 2050 global population growth is expected to occur in Africa, West Africa accounting for 15% of the growth, poultry remains a leading source of meat protein there.

According to them, modernizing and industrializing poultry farms in West Africa is an important component of food security.

“Driven by changing demographics, urbanization and changing consumption behaviours, a more modern and professional poultry industry is forming in Africa,” said Katy Wyatt, USGC manager of global strategies.

“These trainings provide West African poultry producers with a vision for future development around which the industry can rally.”

This builds on a series of USGC-led effort last year to engage the West African poultry industry, with the help of a grant from the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council.

The trainings also involve pullet management, egg layer production and technical and economic management of broiler production aimed at improving capacity on the continent.

USGC in partnership with FISA, will organize two more training programs in 2018 to continue this effort, with the next program scheduled for July 2018 for 12 poultry producers and technicians from Burkina Faso and Mali.

“These trainings provide producers with the opportunity to learn from leading poultry experts in Morocco,” Wyatt said.

“Expanded engagement in 2018 will provide West African poultry producers the technical skills necessary to improve their poultry operations, becoming examples of modern production practices and improved farm management practices in the region.

Our involvement in this effort is a critical part of carrying out our mission to develop markets and enable trade while improving lives.”