Uganda is losing billions of shillings in imports of chicken from Brazil according to investigations, says New Vision Uganda.
President Yoweri Museveni last month warned against importation of poultry meat. New Vision investigations have revealed that between July 1 and December 3, 2011, one company alone imported 725 tons of frozen chicken.
Farmers lose revenue
Chicken for export in Brazil is sold in 22 or 24 tons. According to the online prices, a kilogramme of poultry meat before payment of transport and taxes (FOB) costs $2.10 meaning that the 725 tons imported by Fresh Cuts cost $1.522m. The landed cost (C&F Kampala) would be approximately $1.848m.
Brazil is a leader in meat and poultry exports and has some of the lowest production costs in the world making their products cheaper. According to New Vision, although some companies advertise that their poultry products are 100% Ugandan, the reality is that some poultry meat is imported and re-packaged in Uganda, leading to loss of revenue to farmers.
Acting Chairman of the Poultry Association of Uganda Aga Sekalala junior stated that it was very unfortunate that this had been allowed to happen, because it was a risk to the food security of the country. He said the imports had already caused a slowdown in the regular growth of the poultry sector.
Samuel Muwanguzi, the proprietor of Biyinzika Enterprises, a Mukono based poultry breeding company stated, that they were an agricultural country. They shouldn’t allow dumping of those products.Government ban on poultry imports
In the 2005/06 financial year , the government passed a policy that stopped importation of any meat products into the country . This was to guard against the risk of the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) that occurred in many countries in Asia, Europe and Africa since 2003. However special permits were allocated to institutions such as Diplomatic missions and agencies for unique meat products which could not be secured from Uganda.
Dr. Chris Rutebarika , the Assistant Commissioner Disease Control in the Agriculture ministry explained that the ban was partially lifted to allow importation from countries without the Avian Influenza outbreak . He however warned that importation of poultry products would kill the local industries involved in poultry production.
Other African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have strict rules on importation of poultry products to protect the local farmers. In February, the South African government adopted anti-dumping measures which affected imports of whole chickens and boneless chicken cuts from Brazil.
Source: New Vision Uganda