NAMIBIAN commercial and informal egg producers deliver around 370 000 eggs a day, however, getting them on big retailers’ shelves remains a challenge.
According to the chairman of the Poultry Producers Association (PPA), Rene Werner, commercial producers yield 300 000 eggs per day, while emerging informal producers deliver around 70 000 per day.
“One could say Namibia is self-sufficient on eggs,” Werner says.
The country’s commercial production involves eight producers registered with the PPA – two in the Erongo region, three in the Otjozondjupa region, two in the Omaheke region, and the biggest one, Waldschmidt Eggs, in the Khomas region.
The most informal producers are located in the north of the country, Werner says.
He says given the process involved, getting big retailers and government entities on board in terms of stocking up with local eggs, is a difficult task.
“Getting into the local big retailer market is not that easy, as you have a listing process, and you have to deliver to all the shops at your own expense, and there is a buyers’ rebate percentage you have to pay,” Werner says.
A buyer’ rebate is the fee a producer pays to put his or her product on the shelves of major retailers.
With regards to government entities, he says the process is simpler if the producer is a registered business without outstanding tax payments.
“They do support local produce,” Werner says.
He says the state conducts the process through a middleman, which “in my eyes is paying someone extra and is a waste of state money”.
According to Werner, the PPA has three registered broiler producers, one in the Omaheke region, one in the Otjozondjupa region, and the main producer, the Namibia Poultry Industry (NPI), in the Khomas region.
He says big companies, not all members of the PPA, have major developments in the pipeline, which have not been made public yet.
According to the PPA, the country’s formal market demands about 3 000 tonnes of poultry meat a month, while the three local broiler producers produce around 2 500 tonnes per month commercially.
Informal farmers produce around 130 tonnes per month.
According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, the country has spent N$1,2 billion on chicken imports in 2019, which is almost equivalent to the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform’s budget for last year and this year.
The country last year spent N$839,73 million on importing poultry meat products.
Werner says business opportunities for locals abound – especially with regards to value addition.
“Everything Namibia produces is more expensive as we have to import our raw materials,” he says, explaining why locally produced meat costs more.
Werner says chicken feed is a culprit in the poultry sector.
“We are about N$1 000 per tonne more expensive than South Africa, mainly due to transport costs,” he says.
Werner says Namibia produces a substantial amount of its maize, which is one of the main ingredients of feed, but the rest of the raw materials, such as soya and sunflower seeds come from South Africa and Zambia.
“Also, in South Africa and other Southern African Development Community countries feed for intensive farming is subsidised, which is not the case in Namibia,” he says.
All these factors make local production extremely challenging, Werner says.
“I take my hat off for producers in this country,” he says.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement operational and countries ready to trade with each other beyond closed borders, many Namibian industries are still in its infant stages.
Werner says broiler producers are facing stiff foreign competition.
He suggests that the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade should increase import duties on all imported meat, and that the country should have better-trained staff at border points to monitor illegal imports.
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