Researchers from Wageningen University and Research and the Netherlands Africa Business Council (NABC) have identified that the cost of feeds directly governs the price of poultry.
The research done among the East African countries- Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, have identifies Tanzania to be the most productive country in poultry farming.
The main ingredient – maize – is grown in large scale in Tanzania and Uganda. Tanzania alone has 10 million hectares of arable land for the crop and widely exports it to the neighboring countries. Tanzania is the largest maize supplier in the region, with one million more tonnes under cultivation than Uganda. In contrast, Kenya has just 6m ha and Rwanda 1.8m ha.
Poultry feed contribute up to 70% of the cost price, the researchers found significant differences in the four countries studied.
The study found that feed prices are lowest in the countries that are able to locally produce the main feed ingredients themselves, such as maize.
This was why the price of poultry feed in Tanzania was only half the price of Kenyan poultry feed, while the prices in Rwanda and Burundi even top Kenya by a further 30-50%.
In order to develop, poultry chains depend on supply of feed ingredients and day old chicks, on veterinary services, environmental legislation and the formal and informal nature of local and cross-border markets.
The study found that Kenya has a well-developed poultry sector but that not enough arable land was being set aside to produce the necessary feed. Arable land that was being used was also located on marginal soils in semi-arid areas and therefore produced limited yields.
Tanzania has for the past six months closed its borders for maize exports to Kenya in order to restore its strategic national maize reserve.
The study is the first phase towards achieving a comparison of the competitive power of poultry production among African nations. The final goal is to produce a competitiveness index for production on the continent.
The index is expected to enable governments and donors to better underpin their choices for supporting poultry developments and may also support private business in determining their acquisition strategy.