Head of the Animal Production and Poultry sector in the Ministry of Agriculture Khalid Tawfik said the government is required to review all legislation governing the poultry industry in Egypt to develop it in a way that contributes to increasing production.
The first session of the conference “Expert guide: The challenges and opportunities for Egypt’s Poultry Industry” took place Tuesday during which Tawfik said the Ministry of Agriculture has a vision to develop poultry wealth.
According to head of the “Business News” Foundation Moustafa Sakr, the poultry industry is considered an industry of national security. “As the proverb says: those who don’t own their own food cannot make their own decisions,” he said. Many challenges face this industry but many opportunities are also on expected.
Sakr called on leaders of the poultry industry to present and discuss the challenges the poultry sector faces, especially following the outbreak of the bird flu in 2006. He also called on the government to quickly overcome obstacles facing producers.
Developing this sector is possible and many countries around the world have developed it through their government’s support and clear communication with all parties in the industry. It is vital the government comprehend situations in the market and problems that parties in the industry are facing, according to Sakr. Governmental bodies must manage this industry wisely and play a prominent role in communicating with the sector.
Member of the executive committee of the World Federation of Poultry and head of the Lebanese Union of Poultry Musa Freiji said diseases are considered the biggest challenge the poultry industry faces. Since the prevalence of the bird flu, the poultry industry in Egypt lost 60% of its profits over the past ten years.
The government reconsider custom tariffs, which were reduced by the state to 30% compared to 60% previously, which resulted in an increase in imports, threatening local production. He believes that customs must be increased to 60% again. Importers manipulate invoices to pay only 15%-20% of custom tariffs, according to Freiji.
In terms of local and global efforts to produce vaccines against poultry diseases, Freiji said global vaccine companies produced new vaccines to keep up with the pace of mutations and evolutions of viruses. The Ministry of Agriculture did not take clear measures to confront the crisis; neither the preventive ban nor the fortification of domestic and rural birds were enforced.
Freiji demanded a quick transfer of poultry farms to remote areas that are far from residential areas within six years, as well as the suspension of licenses provision to farms in residential areas. It is also crucial that the problem of land allocation be resolved to begin the transfer of farms.
Tawfik said the ministry will continue to take remarks and recommendations about everything relevant to the advancement of the poultry industry since it is majorly important for food security. The ministry aims to maintain the industry of poultry and reach drastic solutions for problems like the high cost of feed such as maize and soy beans, he said.
The ministry already developed a plan to achieve self-sufficiency of maize by 2018. Egypt imports about 7.2m tonnes of yellow corn and produces about 6.5m tonnes. Poultry feed consists of 60% maize.
The poultry industry suffers from the spread of diseases that threaten its growth and development. The ministry is coordinating with the concerned authorities both locally and internationally to provide the required vaccines to counter diseases that threaten the industry like flu as Egypt has about 42 species of bird flu vaccines, Tawfik said. Approximately 60% of poultry farms in Egypt are not licensed and are consolidated in the Delta and the Valley area.
Deputy Head of the financial assistance committee at the Ministry of Supply Mohammed Badr said he will be submitting the demands of poultry farm owners to minister Khaled Hanafi, especially since consumer complexes, which provide people’s basic commodities including poultry, purchase their requirements from these farms.
Badr said he will meet with the Minister of Supply at the end of this week to discuss the future of the poultry industry in Egypt in light of the recommendations that will result from this conference. He further stressed that the ministry attaches great importance to the poultry industry, which is a major factor of Egypt’s food security.
He will communicate with the concerned authorities to provide land required by poultry farms in desert areas away from residential areas.
When Sakr enquired about possible support from the Ministry of Supply to the poultry industry to dispense imported products and support local products, Mohammed Badr said the ministry has taken it upon itself to provide food security to Egyptian citizens.
Badr explained that the ministry is currently working to encourage the investments of the poultry sector either by supporting big or small projects, or by welcoming all proposals including proposals to communicate with stakeholders to reduce customs duties on imports of poultry feed fees.
Mohamed ElShafie, one of the attendees at the conference, claimed the government has already allocated approximately 180,000 acres of desert land for the transfer of poultry farms. He further claimed that companies had been unable to transfer their farms because the land had not been sufficiently prepared by the government and lacks infrastructural development.