According to Research, Poultry farming in Africa is one of the biggest business opportunities on the continent.
Africa’slove for poultry meat and eggs has grown at a staggering pace. Everyyear, the continent imports more than two million metric tons ofpoultry products valued at nearly US$3 billion to meet domesticdemand.
In 2012alone, more than five million tons of poultry meat and two milliontons of eggs were consumed in Africa. Africa’s love for chicken andeggs is increasing with the size of its rapidly growing population.
Let’sexplore the amazing opportunities for African entrepreneurs in thislarge and potentially lucrative market for chicken and eggs…
Africa’sappetite for poultry products is huge and still growing…
Chicken andeggs are a rich source of animal protein for millions of Africans.The young population, who make up more than 70 percent of thecontinent’s people are the highest consumers of poultry products.
Africa’spoultry market is experiencing a boom as a result of its rapidpopulation and economic growth.
Brazil andChina have become the largest exporters of frozen chicken to ourmarkets and have made it nearly impossible for local poultry farms tothrive.(photo credit: guardian.co.uk)
ManyAfrican countries understand the huge income potentials for localpoultry production and have placed import bans on poultry products toprotect local producers.
However,most of these bans have not been effective and have made no realimpact on actual foreign imports. Smuggling poultry products,especially meat, have become very big business in countries likeGhana, Nigeria and Uganda.
Forexample, in the year 2010, over 200,000 tons of frozen chicken wereexported to Ghana from the US, EU and Brazil.
In Nigeria for instance, up to 100,000 tons of imported poultry products (including chicken and eggs) are seized annually over its borders and destroyed. This has severely undercut the profit potentials of this lucrative market for local producers as they struggle to compete with very cheap foreign imports.
It isalmost impossible for African producers to compete with these verycheap imports.
Brazil is the world leader in poultry exports (including chicken and eggs) and has one of the lowest production costs in the world which makes its exports extremely cheap.
Even South Africa, Africa’s former largest economy, is under pressure to save jobs in its local poultry industry due to the influx of cheap Brazilian and Chinese chicken.
Combinedwith the US and Europe, who are also jostling for a larger share ofthe African poultry market, it has become increasingly difficult forAfrican entrepreneurs to exploit the poultry consumption goldmine.
MarketOpportunities for Poultry farming in Africa
Since cheapimports from Brazil, USA and Europe have cornered the African poultrymarket, are there still any lucrative opportunities for localentrepreneurs?
Thereappears to be a glimmer of hope! Of the two major poultry products(meat and eggs), egg production holds a lot of promise for Africanentrepreneurs. While it may be relatively easy to smuggle poultrymeat, eggs are much more delicate and have a sensitive shelf life.
Poultrymeat production may still have opportunities for local Africanentrepreneurs. However given the stiff competition from cheapimports, this is likely to be a very risky business venture unlessyou have a guaranteed niche market or exclusive supply contracts.
Eggproduction holds a lot of opportunities and less competition fromforeign imports.
Did youknow that Africa’s population makes up more than 15 percent of theworld’s population but contributes less than 5% of global eggproduction. The upside is also quite promising.
On theaverage every year, only 2.2kg of eggs are eaten per person inAfrica. This is much below the world average of 8.5kg per person peryear. There is indeed a lot of egg eating to be done in Africa, and alot of production too!
As ourpopulation increases, and the size and earning power of the Africanmiddle class grow, the demand for poultry products is bound to put alot of pressure on the already limited production.
Households,restaurants, processed food producers, fast food businesses, bakeriesand confectioners constitute a large chunk of annual egg demand andmake very good potential targets for a small scale egg supplier.
Pullets(young female chickens) mature and start laying eggs when they reach20 – 24 weeks (5 to 6 months). Egg production is likely to reduceby nearly 50 percent when these layers reach 18 to 24 months of age.
A single layer of the right breed can produce up to 300 – 450 eggs in her productive lifetime if the proper management, feeding and disease prevention practices are undertaken.
With these production figures in mind, a well-positioned producer can target a domestic market (small retailers, kiosk operators, housewives etc.) and become the neighborhood egg supplier of choice. Since most families have eggs in their diet nowadays, it makes a lot of sense that you exploit your neighborhood market!
As long asyour prices remain competitive and the quality of your eggs and salesservice is excellent, your customer base should start to expand andyou may have to increase the capacity of your farm to meet theincreasing demand of your market.
Somethings you should consider before you start a poultry business…
Since the scourge of avian (bird) flu, countries and people have become alert to the possible effects of breeding poultry close to humans and where we live. You may need to consider the environmental effects of your poultry farm on your health and neighbor-hood before you start.
If the recommended vaccination and hygiene practices are strictly enforced and followed, you are unlikely to run into any problems with the neighbors or sanitation/health authorities.
However, we must warn you; poultry excrement (shit) can be very offensive! Make sure you take proper care to fight the offensive odor if you intend to farm your birds close to residential areas.
Another important thing to note before you start your poultry business (chicken and eggs) is the prevailing price of commercial feed in the market. If you are considering buying commercial poultry feed, it may be wise to confirm that the price of eggs (or meat) is higher than the price of commercial feed.
If it willcost you more to feed the birds than the price you will ask people topay for their meat and eggs, it surely doesn’t make any sense.
However,there are very good local feed substitutes that can be used toprovide good egg yields from your birds. It is important that youunderstand the nutritional requirements of your birds for the purposethat you will be breeding them (eggs or meat). More important is theselection of the right breed of layers (for eggs) and broilers (formeat).
Goodpoultry breeds can convert more feed to body weight (for broilers)and eggs (for layers). The ability to convert more feed may mean thedifference between profit and loss in this business. You must ensurethat you source your chicks from very credible and well-referencedhatcheries before you start.
If you have any experience in this area, we’re sure a lot of people reading this would love to learn from you. Please leave a comment in the section below or share this opportunity with a friend.