LACK of market for small-scale poultry farmers has been blamed for the poor poultry farming in Zanzibar.
Speaking to reporters in Unguja West District, members of the poultry keepers association said they cannot advance because of competitive market by chick and egg importers.
"We do not have reliable market. Our projects risk collapsing if the authorities fail to protect our products," said Halima Abdallah Ahmed, a farmer in Kombeni, complaining of water shortage and insufficient medical supply for poultry.
Similar complains were also raised by some members of Zanzibar House of Representatives in October this year, when they questioned the relevance of importing chicken and eggs, while local farmers could produce enough supply.
But in response to the concern, the Zanzibar Minister for Livestock and fisheries Mr Abdullahi Jihadi Hassan said that insufficient production of chicken has prompted Zanzibar to rely heavily on chicken imported from abroad.
Jihad argues, for example, "The demand for children is about 640,240 tons annually, yet the production is only 100,944 tons only. We have to open doors to members of the business community to import." He added.
He said that his ministry has been working hard to encourage local farmers including poultry keepers to produce more to benefit with the growing demand particularly in the tourism sector.
The minister said it was impossible to restrict imports from abroad, because of the increasing demand, appealing to farmers to produce more quality products and members of the business community to continue importing. Zanzibar imports chicken from Brazil, South Africa, and Tanzania mainland.