October 7, 2003
Mozambican Poultry Farmers Protest Against Unfair Competition of Chickens & Feed
Mozambican poultry farmers are complaining of unfair competition from products imported from countries such as South Africa, Brazil and Argentina, which are seriously prejudicing the national industry.
Cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the chairperson of the Poultry Farmers Association, Afonso Langa, said that the dumping of cheap goods is affecting not only the poultry farmers but also the producers of chicks and chicken feed.
Langa said that he welcomes fair competition, because it encourages quality improvement, but he noted that for imported products to be sold at such low prices, they must have been rejected in their countries of origin.
"First of all, these are chickens that enter our market at a cost, including customs duties, insurance and handling, which does not explain how they can be sold at such a low price", he said.
He also noted that some of them have been in the freezer for over a year and are being sold at 50,000 meticais (@ USD2), compared with the fresh national product, being sold at 60,000 or 70,000 meticais a kilo. Langa said his association has informed the relevant authorities about this situation and has shown them samples of expired products. He said that the association has notified the ministries of Agriculture, Health, Industry and Trade, and the National Veterinary Research Institute, and requested a meeting with them to have a better understanding of the issue.
"First we notified the Agriculture Ministry, but we were told to wait for a reply. But before we had that reply, the Swazi poultry farmers posed the same problem in Maputo during a meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) members", said Langa.
He added that after the complaints by the Swazis we were told that this issue is to be dealt with in a regional forum, but the Mozambicans were not happy about that suggestion.
"We asked the Agriculture Ministry to schedule a meeting with the poultry farmers, the chicken feed producers, and the chick sellers", he said.
He said that some measures are being taken by the interested parties to defend the national industry, and an agreement between them is now being carved, which should give the farmers¡¯ better facilities for acquiring the chicks and the feed.