Poultry producers in the West African states of Benin and Togo have been given a helping hand by the US Grains Council to help them build capacity in the region.
The US Grains Council (USGC) has come together with the Moroccan Federation of Poultry Associations (FISA) to look at how West African regional producers can improve their businesses.
They are sponsoring 3 training programmes for the region’s poultry producers over the next few weeks. The first took place in Casablanca, Morocco, and included 13 producers who received comprehensive training in broiler management and layer production, supported with practical hands-on training at FISA’s poultry training centre. The producers also visited commercial broiler farms, feed mills and slaughterhouse facilities.
Poultry production in Togo has been badly affected by avian influenza in recent months with the country requesting help earlier this month from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Despite this, numbers of chickens have risen in the country from 8 million in 2011 to 22.5m last year due to investment by the Togolese government.
Despite some rapid economic growth Benin’s agricultural sector remains fairly underdeveloped, relying on cotton production and regional trade. Katy Wyatt, USGC global strategies manager, said modernising and industrialising poultry farms in the region was vital for food security given that more than half of global population growth by 2050 is expected to occur in Africa.
“Driven by changing demographics, urbanisation and changing consumption behaviours, a more modern and professional poultry industry is forming in Africa.
“These trainings provide West African poultry producers with a vision for future development around which the industry can rally.” 2 more training programmes are being planned with the next taking place in July for 12 poultry producers and technicians from Burkina Faso and Mali. Last year more than 35 poultry producers from Guinea, Senegal and Ivory Coast attended similar training following a grant from the North Dakota Utilisation Council.
The goal of the training programmes is to build broader capacity on the continent, supporting local producers as part of a long-term market development effort for US grain exports into West Africa. USGC said sales have already started to Senegal and Nigeria, which imported 245,000 tonnes of US corn in the 2016/7 marketing years.
“Expanded engagement in 2018 will provide West African poultry producers the technical skills necessary to improve their poultry operations, becoming examples of modern production practices and improved farm management practices in the region. Our involvement in this effort is a critical part of carrying out our mission to develop markets and enable trade while improving lives,” added Ms Wyatt.