365 days ago, when I wrote on the poultry farming season of the year 2017 and what should be expected in the year 2018, I expected a significant improvement in the overall poultry industry, and as expected, things took a huge turnaround in 2018.
The 2018 poultry farming season to some extent was much more exciting for poultry famers compared to that of 2017. The extremely high cost of feed which was a major obstacle to the successful running of most poultry farms in 2017.
Infact about 365 days ago when I wrote a review of the 2017 farming year, my major reason for the terrible poultry farming season experienced in 2017 was as a result of a single major ingredient (maize) being way too expensive. This as a consequence, increased the production cost incurred by feed manufacturers thereby ultimately affecting the prices of poultry feed in the open market. Now let me re-emphasis the contributory factor of maize in dictating the ability of most poultry farming businesses to function optimally and profitably.
Maize as a major source of energy in feed composition takes up 60% cost of the total feed. Any percentage increase in the cost of this major ingredient will result in an increase in the price of a bag of feed. Unfortunately for the poultry farmer, if the selling price of his end product (eggs or live broiler chickens) doesn’t go up, then he will have to either incur losses or end up with lesser profit. This is exactly the drama that unfolded in 2017. The price of a kilo of maize was around #45 while a bag of chicken feed between 2015 to early 2016 was sold at an average price of #2,500 – #2800. Unfortunately, when the price of maize sky rocketed to #135 per kg late 2016/2017 , there was a consequent increment in the price of feed to as high as #4500 at a point in time. Unfortunately for the farmer, there was little increase in the price of a crate of egg as well as a kilo of live broiler chicken. In the long run , many poultry farms ceased operations and the few big players that were still operating kept operating at a loss. All these subsequently led to the poor sales being recorded by day old chick producers who also recorded all time highs in term of losses within the period in review (2017)
- Moving ahead to the poultry farming year 2018, towards the end of 2017, the government policy which led to the ban on importation of maize was lifted and a new breath of fresh air came as the high demand for locally produced maize dropped drastically. This led to the gradual reduction in the price of maize which has since stabilized; reason for the current stability in the prices of chicken feed in the open market. Though not as cheap as it was back then in 2015, but at the current market prices, most poultry farmers still make reasonable profit from the sales of crates of eggs and live broiler chickens to consumers.
The only downside is the fact that the price of day old chicks reached an all time high of around #380-#400 as the existing hatcheries are not capacitated to meet the current demand by poultry farmers especially towards the festive periods.
On the contrary, the hatcheries and producers of day old chicks are also smiling to the bank as a result of the increasing demand for chicks by poultry farmers. This alone is an interesting indicator to the fact that our poultry farmers are now enjoying profits in their farming business.
Hopefully the year 2019 will see more new entrants into the parent stock /hatchery business and yours sincerely is willing to raise a future generation of poultry farmers who will experience a business shift in paradigm from buyers of day old chicks to producers of day old chick .As this will in the long run help in curbing the high price of day olds currently being experienced by poultry farmers in the country.