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File photo / For illustration purposes only / KFC reduced by 50% the number of meals served daily due to import restrictions of chicken
Three weeks into the ban on chicken imports from South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo on suspicions of bird flu, and Mozambique’s catering industry is hurting. To take just one example, fast-food multinational KFC has halved the number of meals it serves daily.
“The lack of stocks in Mozambique has forced us to resort to South African chicken. With the current restrictions, we have stopped serving some meals and reduced our customer’s response capacity by 50 percent,” Gagendra Nhezi, a KFC lawyer interviewed by O País says.
Until the end of last year, national production of chickens was around 75,000 tons, but this is not enough to cover domestic consumption. KFC says that domestic producers cannot guarantee the quality and quantity required by the multinational, but that as a result of the current crisis, it will buy two tons of chicken pieces on a trial basis.
“If we were supplied by the local market, we would eliminate transport costs and customs duties, and of course costs would drop substantially,” Nhezi concluded.
The recent restrictions were imposed by the National Veterinary Directorate to protect Mozambican poultry farmers from an outbreak of bird flu in South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The ban prohibits the import and transit of domestic and wild poultry, fresh or frozen chicken, feathers, hatching and consumable eggs, day-old chicks, poultry products and all materials or articles used in the rearing process from Zimbabwe, the Congo and areas of South Africa that are affected or under surveillance.
This year, Maputo city will welcome the largest poultry project in the south of the country, which will produce 500,000 chickens on a 22 to 26-day cycle. Mozambican investment in the project is estimated at US$10 million.
“The project has eight rearing sheds and a slaughterhouse in its first phase, which corresponds to 500,000 chickens. At the moment, we are in the process of customs clearance for another five sheds. We have the slaughterhouse technology ready, and the infrastructure is nearing completion,” Danilo Jossub, an entrepreneur linked to the project, explains.
The system is fully automated, with water and feed served automatically, the chickens weighed and the air conditioning adjusted. “For many years, poultry farming was a risky business, where losses were as high as 30 to 40 percent,” Danilo says, “but losses in these pavilions are around two percent.”
The country has a significant deficit in chicken products, estimated at four million chickens a month in the city and province of Maputo alone. In order to stimulate domestic production, the government a few years ago exempted the import of production materials from VAT.Source: O País