By Mustapha Jallow & Assan Bah
Accordong to information gathered by these reporters, domstic poultry producers face high risks of loosing their birds due to shortage of poultry feed.
According to Assan Secka, managing director of Gam-Holland Heavens feed producers, more than 200, 000 birds face the risk of dying due to shortage of poultry feed across the country.
“It is worse than the pandemic. I can tell you that more than 200, 000 chickens can die due to lack of poultry feed, and we cannot get poultry feed from Senegal because they too have shortage (feed) and are trying to manage the little they have to be able to supply their farmers,’’ a seemingly discouraged Secka told these reporters.
According to Secka, the price of chicken feed referred as ‘wheat bran’ has jumped to 60%, while that of corn rose to 50%, due to the global supply chain that has beeen affected by the war in Ukraine.
Secka said most poultry producers risk loosing their jobs as well, due to the shorrtage of chicken feed, saying hundreds of people who are involved in commercial poultry business, do not have the purchasing power to remedy the situation. He said the feed imported from Senegal comes thrrough through Russia or Ukraine, where the maize is largely cultivated. But due to the on-going war between the two countries, everything is at risk for poultry producers.
“Poultry farmers are crying and roaming everywhere looking for something just to feed their birds. As for Gam-Holland, our intention is to build an industry that manufactures chicken feed and in doing this, local farmers must work with us and produce corn in the country. This must be been done because we have no other option,’’ he asserted.
“We face lot of challenges when buying feed from Senegal. At some point, we get difficulty to contact even the main supplier. So they will prefer you to deal with an agent directly and in ddoing this, we are charged extra cost, while custom declaration and transportation awaits us,’’ he explained.
According to the World Bank, the war in Ukraine has disrupted global markets and altered global patterns of trade, production and consumption, in ways that will keep prices at historically high levels through the end of 2024.
Secka further blamed the people and Government for not empowering companies like Gam-Holland, Uni-global, Sahel and G-farms who manufacture poultry feed saying most of them prefer going to Senegal where the price of feed is even more expensive than here in the Gambia.
According to Secka, other countries have started looking for solutions to address the problem of poultry feed contrary to the Gambia no steps have been seen or heard to be taken by Gambian authorities to mitigate the crisis or provide immediate solutions; that this makes poultry producers to be really worried and concerned about the future of their businesses.
He call on the farming community to start growing and producing more maize (corn) to sell to poultry feed producing Companies saying this will earn them extra income and the maize they produce will be an added value to the feed processing.
“We deemed it necessary for the authorities to look into this sector if not there will be loss of jobs and income. My factory does not operate beyond five days now because of lack of raw materials. It becoming more and more expensive, and there is an increase of more than 25% on the feed. We do not have any solution to the situation as at now, and we urge the authorities to look for a short term plan to save businesses. We must start producing corn and a lot of it, together with other feed for livestock and small ruminants because we have the land,’’ Secka said.
For the benefit of the readership, poultry continues to be the primary source of protein for humans in the forms of eggs and meat. This is consumed worldwide by the less priviledged especially in Africa.