Desperate livestock farmers call for measures to ensure survival


A statement from SeyFa notes that while until a few years ago, Seychelles was producing 80% of its pork and broiler and 100% of table eggs by 2011, local livestock production is presently at its lowest level ever and blames that entirely on imports.

It claims that when government in April 2010 liberalised all meat imports, it assumed the consumers would benefit from supposedly lower prices, particularly for imported broiler chicken.  It was believed the local livestock farmers were making huge profits from broiler, pork and eggs.

This, it says, was in spite of the fact that in 2008 and 2009, it was showed to the Ministry of Finance that local production costs are extremely high, with feed alone amounting to 80% of the production costs for broiler and pork.

“These high production costs make locally produced broiler chicken and pork more expensive than those imported,” the statement says. 
It further notes that several attempts to address the impact of liberalisation of imports having failed, the local livestock production is nearing collapse, with many farmers winding up operations.

The SeyFa statement argues that the supposedly lower cost of imported broiler chicken is not benefitting the consumers, as it is being sold at par per kilogramme with local products.

“Thus the mark-ups in imported chicken allow the few importers to amass huge profits at the expense of consumers.
“Should local livestock production be allowed to collapse entirely millions of rupees in infrastructure can be lost. There are also other issues, such as bank collaterals, loan bank repayments and hundreds of jobs which are being threatened,” adds the statement.

It also argues that the collapse of the local livestock production is also impacting on vegetable growing. The two are inextricably linked as most vegetable growers depend on livestock farmers for their manure.

The present situation, if allowed to persist, will imperil the national food security programme and the livelihood of the entire farming community.
According to SeyFa, the critical issue facing livestock farmers is regular supply of quality animal feeds. 

It adds that too often there is a lack of supply, compelling farmers to have recourse to rice, coconuts and their by-products.

SeyFa concludes that while it will be difficult for the government to move away from international commitments on new trade alignment and also cannot restrict trade, it can provide “some well targeted measures of support to local livestock production, to render farm outputs more competitive vis-à-vis imports”.   

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