END Poverty Zambia (EPZ) organization regrets that poultry farmers in the country have focused so much on chickens other than other birds such as ducks, quills, guinea fowl, pigeons, turkey and geese.
Poultry farming is raising domesticated birds for the production of meat or eggs.
EPZ Production Officer Thomson Zulu observes that Zambia’s local poultry farmers have focused much in chicken rearing which he feels has continued to undermine efforts of maximizing profit from poultry farm business.
“It’s sad that when you mention poultry farming one thinks of chickens yet we have other exotic birds that can also be good for business” Mr. Zulu explained.
He points out that information gap among the farmers on other bird varieties other than chickens has contributed to low supply of exotic birds from the framers.
Mr Zulu emphasizes that if poultry business in the country is to improve, the need for framers to continue working in collaboration and exchange of information remains critical.
“As a country we need to maximize profits in the agriculture sector by exploring other varieties of birds and also embracing new technologies” he said.
He observed that most poultry farmers are reluctant to explore other birds for business in fear of management challenges that may arise.
Mr Zulu acknowledged that some varieties of birds require good management skills for them to develop and be able to sell well on the market.
“We have a good number of technologies in the agriculture sector that have come on board to promote agribusiness, we have to embrace these technologies to be able to also grow the giant chicken Brahma at a large scale” Mr Zulu said.
He further emphasized the need for Government and the private sector to continue strengthening efforts of supporting local farmers financially in view of encouraging them to take farming as a business.
“The main challenge that most poultry farmers continue to face is financial constraints due to high cost of feed and lack of financial muscle they fail to increase production and explore other types of birds” he said.
Mr Zulu, however, revealed that as an organization they have partnered with some poultry farmers in Chongwe, Lusaka and Copperbelt and are providing trainings on how best to maximize productions while embracing other types of birds.
“Every business has risks, the poultry farming business needs dedication, Close supervision, and effective trainings. That is why as ZEP we have continued to strengthen strides of reaching out to the framers through providing them with soft copy farming booklets and trainings “he said.
Mr Zulu is of the view that promoting poultry business does not only help in job creation but also help in improving nutrition status of citizens hence the need for the government and players in the agriculture sector to continue working in partnerships.
“The area of focus should be on planning before one ventures into poultry business. Strategizing and finding an effective way of managing the birds is what will help Zambia at large improve its economy and nutrition status of the people” he said.
Meanwhile a poultry farmer, Jackson Silawve, who sells his produce at Lusaka’s city market, said the market for chickens is readily available unlike some exotic type of birds.
“Keeping the other type of birds is not a problem. As farmers we are ready to explore other type of birds but the challenge is finding market for them as most consumers prefer chickens to a quill or duck” Mr Silavwe said.