Supporting domestic producers
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CTA. 2002. Supporting domestic producers. Rural Radio Resource Pack 02/5. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57349
The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Gambian Department of State for Agriculture, explains how imported chicken from Europe has affected local poultry production in The Gambia, and how both government supports and changing management by farmers could restore local competitiveness.
Supporting domestic producers Cue: In many parts of Africa, local poultry producers have been swamped by floods of cheap chicken coming in from Europe. In the case of The Gambia, in West Africa, the domestic market has been devastated by meat from Belgium and Holland, which is so cheap that many carcasses are simply dumped unsold. In a liberalised trade environment, it may be difficult for national governments to protect domestic producers. However, creating a supportive structure for local industry can at least give it a chance of competing with the European rivals. Mamadi Ceesay is the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Gambian Department of State for Agriculture, and the author of a recent report on the impact of liberalisation on the poultry industry. He spoke to Ismaila Senghore about how local farmers have been affected by the open market, and how he feels they could be increasing their competitiveness. IN: ?Most of the people who ? OUT: ?Thank you very much, Ismaila.? DUR?N 5?07? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: That report came from Ismaila Senghore in The Gambia. Transcript Ceesay Most of the people who were in the industry by 1996 were out by 2000. Only a few managed to stay. And this was because the market was in glut, because they could afford to bring in products at cheaper price, even though this will take six weeks to reach the Gambia, and this has an effect on the quality. If you have to bring in products for six weeks, the quality is less than if you have it produced in the Gambia. So in terms of those Gambian companies, they are disfavoured, and therefore had it very tough to compete. Senghore Well Mamadi, I?m a Gambian myself, and I have been into the streets and in the markets, and it appears that in every corner, sometimes we find chicken legs, whole chickens, on sale at very cheap prices. This means definitely, local farmers cannot sell their poultry products. So how far do you think subsidisation of industrialised countries in their agriculture has impacted local farmers? Ceesay They can afford to bring in products that are even lower than the cost of production here. And because of that, a lot of people in the industry had to go out of business because they had to compete with these people in the same market, and their products are readily available, and they are at a cheaper price. I think the only other option is that people who go for quality go for what is produced locally here, because it is more tasty, and less of the health risk. But these are the problems, because if you look at the people of low income, they will readily go for a product which is of a lower price and which is readily available in the market. What this does is that the local poultry industry can never flourish, and therefore we have to depend on imports. So we find ourselves in a vicious circle and it is very difficult to escape from it, and therefore the food insecurity situation continues. Senghore Have you looked at some of the basic problems that farmers need to be able to compete with these imports? Ceesay I think it is to support, particularly the small-scale farmers, through the rehabilitation of the hatcheries, but also through the rehabilitation of the feed industry that we have, in terms of producing local feeds to make sure that is available to farmers. But the other thing one needs to do is step up the surveillance that we have, to make sure that the product that we have are of quality, to ensure that the laboratories that are around have the necessary agents and the equipment so that the population at large is protected. I think that if we provide all this, it will go a long way to providing the environment for the local industry. Because in the state of the liberalised environment, one cannot talk about protection, but one can support the industry and enable it to grow. Senghore What kind of advice do you think our local farmers can follow, in order to improve the situation? Ceesay I think the key advice is cost effectiveness. We have to go for products that are locally available: use locally available feed because we have the maize; all we have to do is bring in a few vitamins and other nutrients, and supplement this. We also have to develop the local hatcheries that are available so that we don?t have to import day-old chicks from Europe. And we also have a very good climate, where we can have simple, low-cost housing in which the poultry can be reared. I think using these mechanisms, we can operate and provide enough poultry products for the urban areas and for the families of rural Gambians. Senghore Mamadi, I do believe you enjoy chicken? Ceesay Very much thank you. Senghore Do you foresee us enjoying chicken in the near future as much as we used to do? Ceesay I think, first we are in a global environment, so we will have just to continue importing chicken. I think this can be complemented by the local industry in providing locally produced chicken, which are more delicious, of course, than the imported one, and I think more and more people are in for quality food. And in the search for quality food, I think people will go in for the local products, at the expense of course, of the imported chicken. Senghore Well I always go for the local produce, seeing as it is more delicious. Thank you very much Mamadi, it has been a pleasure talking to you, and thank you for the time. Ceesay Thank you very much, Ismaila. End of track.