Poultry production is the fastest and rapidly growing business in attaining any country's food self-sufficiency drive. The lucrative venture is increasingly becoming an enterprising venture for many Gambians in their quest to meet the country's chicken demand.
Walking across restaurants and fast food joints in the country, it will amaze you how Gambian's appetite towards spicy chicken wings and fried chicken has increased in recent years. This to some extent has increased demand for chicken legs and eggs in the country.
Well, it is in the news that the management of The Gambia's leading poultry processing company, EMPASS has called for government intervention to address some of their challenges to expand their chicken production in the country.
Established in 2012, EMPASS Poultry Company has served as the new supplier of chicken for out-growers and consumers in the country.
There is need for government support to local poultry producers for them to increase their production levels. Cognizant of its economic and nutritional values, when our local poultry producers are supported well, will significantly reduce importation of chicken parts and eggs into the country.
Aside its nutritionally rich food sources (meat and eggs), poultry production also boosts employment for many and reduces the gap between demand and supply of poultry eggs and meat.
For instance, the recent ban placed on the importation of chickens into the country by government wouldn't have been felt that much.
Government's decision to ban the importation of chickens from Senegal comes following the discovery of highly contagious bird flu in neighbouring Senegal.
However, within a week this ban has been felt across the country, as the price of chicken rose exponentially.
That is why it is important we empower our local poultry farmers. When our farmers are empowered, even in the worst case scenario relating to bird flu and sort forth, the country will not feel it, as the local firms will produce enough for local consumption and even export the surplus.
Let's take example from our neighbours - Senegal, we've all seen how Senegalese government supported their own domestic industries to expand their production level.
When government support our poultry production, imports of foreign chickens into the country will soon be a thing of the past. And this will have a trickle down effect on the country's economy and boost food production.
Therefore, government's intervention is a matter of choice. But the easiest way to end importation of chickens and eggs is to empower local producers.
It is a collective effort and together we can end importation of chickens within the shortest possible time.
"Globalization and free trade do spur economic growth, and they lead to lower prices on many goods".