NAMIBIA'S N$2 billion poultry imports will be reduced this month after the government stopped supplies from South Africa due to an outbreak of the highly pathogenic Avian influenza (HPAI).
This also presents an opportunity for local production to thrive, although it might also lead to a spike in chicken prices.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform announced the ban on poultry imports last week.
The ban which came into effect on 19 March 2021 includes transit movement of live poultry, birds, and other poultry products from South Africa.
According to the ministry, since the incubation period of the disease is 21 days as per the World Health Organisation for animal health's standards, the ban will be for 21 days.
"Consignments of poultry products packed in their final packaging on or after the date of suspension will be rejected and sent back to the country of origin or destroyed at the importer's cost," announced the ministry.
The ministry has also notified all who had planned procuring poultry from South Africa, to find other ways to meet local demand.
"All previously issued import and in-transit permits to import poultry from the infected compartments are hereby cancelled and recalled with immediate effect," announced the ministry.
The ministry said the country will, however, continue allowing the importation and in-transit of live poultry and their products from HPAI free parts of South Africa.
Namibia poultry trade statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency for the past two years show that the country has imported poultry and poultry products worth N$2 billion from around the world.
Out of this, N$1,2 billion was imported in 2019 and N$839,7 million was imported in 2020.
The import ban has come at the time the biggest producer of poultry products, Namib Poultry (NP) has announced that consumers will pay more for their poultry products.
In a press release, the infant industry protected company announced that "there will be a price increase from 21 April 2021".
The price increase will be on the Real Good Chicken range (braai pack) and their other product range.
The company attributed their price hike to the increased cost of production, which they are passing on to the consumers.
They said they have been bearing increased production costs for the past 30 months and that it is time for consumers to take some of the burden.
"Cost to our business has increased over the last 30 months with Namib Mills and Namib Poultry absorbing these by not implementing price increases over this period," the company argued.
The company has also indicated that for the past 30 months, inflation rose by 8% which affects their input cost, with some even increasing more than the inflation rate.
According to NP, grain (yellow maize) and soya beans were the main cost drivers, as their prices have skyrocketed for the past 24 months.
The cost of yellow maize increased by over 68% for the past 30 months and 48% of that increase has been observed in the past eight months.
The price of soya beans increased by 80% in the last 24 months, and 60% of that increase was experienced in the last eight, according to the poultry company.
Combined, soya beans and yellow maize make up a significant part of poultry feed.
In terms of chicken production, 65% of the production cost is feed, the company revealed.
NP said feed costs had gone up by 44% and as a result, they will charge customers 12% more for their products as from the last week of this month.
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