Regionalisation in poultry developmen in Eastern Africa

Adriaan Vernooij, Mackenzie N. Masaki, Daphne Meijer-Willems

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


This regional study of East Africa’s (EA) poultry sector was commissioned by the Food and Business Knowledge platform in 2017 with deference to the growing interest of Dutch companies in East Africa. The poultry sector in EA has been growing rapidly for the past 5 years driven by: rapid urbanization; the growth of the middle class in EA; rise in number of quick services restaurants in urban areas in EA; and growing need for animal protein. Of the four EA economies, Kenya’s poultry sector is the most mature. However, all the other three economies have in the past five years made significant strides towards developing and growing their own poultry sector.In order to justify the case for regional approach to poultry development in EA 3 key issues were addressed. First the availability and production of good quality feed at competitive prices. Governments in the region have made conscious policy changes to incentivize the import of raw materials and ingredients for feed into the region. In addition to this certain countries in EA such as Tanzania and Rwanda have made poultry specific strategies to catalyse growth of their poultry sectors. Whereas collective initiatives are in principal good for sectoral development at a regional level, history shows that there are the significant challenges to overcome. For instance, clarity on cross border trade in maize, oil seeds and oil seed cake is necessary for a sound regional approach to feed. The disparity in terms of available land for maize cultivation, the cost price and eventual market price for maize differs significantly per country in EA. Each county in EA has a competitive advantage that could complement the others. However, finding these complementarities and capitalising them for the greater good of the region will give rise to significant benefits for each EA member state. Secondly, the availability of DOCs across EA is a challenge. Kenya trades with Uganda and Uganda trades with Rwanda when it comes to DOCs. There is a shortage of DOCs in EA and there is a seasonality both in availability and price that makes it difficult for farmers to plan ahead and manage their costs.Lastly, access to markets, the East African Community (EAC) is both an economic and political block. Citizens of the member states are in principal allowed to work, do business and trade with one another freely. Though the EAC is the most advanced regional economic block in Africa it still faces certain challenges to implementing certain policies collectively. For instance in February of 2018 all EA member states agreed to remove VAT on all raw materials imported for feed manufacturing. Of the four member states, three have already tabled this policy in parliament and one has not. Free access to a market of approximately 140 million people will drive investments in the sector across the entire value chain. Such initiatives should be given priority and expedited in order to catalyse investments and growth in the EA poultry sector.Complimentary to the three issues above is knowledge and training at vocational and tertiary levels in EA. There is need for better more specific training and education in the poultry sector. A case in point is in EA veterinary doctors are in principal experts for all livestock and poultry is one amongst many of the courses they would take during their 4 to 6 years study. Upon completion most are not equipped to immediately enter into the poultry sector. Most farms and companies in the sector have been forced to develop on the job training programs that allow high performers to learn poultry specific knowledge. In addition to knowledge and training collective investment in regulation and enforcement of good biosecurity and animal health practices would go a long way to reduce and or manage disease outbreaks in the region. In the context of this study, it is observed that in EA a majority of poultry farmers are either small or medium scale farmers. Collective investments in feed, DOCs, animal health, knowledge transfer, capacity building, training and access to markets will greatly assist them become better farmers. In recognition of the increased significance of the poultry sector, various financing and financial institutions have become interested in poultry farmers and other poultry sector value chain actors.6 | Wageningen Livestock Research Report 1121These developments coupled with increasing demand for animal protein make the sector very attractive not only for local actors but also for the Dutch private sector.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Livestock Research
Number of pages47
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Publication series

NameWageningen Livestock Research rapport

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