Poultry Farmer calls on consumers to patronize local products

By Amie Sanneh

“If you patronise local poultry, you are also supporting Gambian farmersMomodou Mass Jobe and fisher folks,” said Momodou Mass Jobe, the Technical Director of Cenelaa Feeds Company Limited.

He said this in an interview at his outlet in Busumbala on Monday, 23 June 2014.

Mr. Jobe called on Gambians to patronise the locally produced chicken in the local market. He said when one is buying something; there should be some form of nationalism. He reminded the consumers that anytime one buys imported chicken, the person is helping a farmer in Brazil or somewhere else but that if you buy locally produced ones, you are not only helping the chicken farmers in the country, but also those who produce corn, groundnuts and fish which are the basic ingredients of chicken feed as well as those who are employed by the poultry farm.

“So these are the things we should be considering and not just reduce it to say this is cheaper. How much is it costing us and what are we doing to address it? We are working on trying to improve on our cost of production, but then you cannot just go to the corn farmer and say give me your corn for free or sell me your corn at a price that is ridiculous, because the corn farmer also needs his profit, so every-time the price of corn increases, the price of chicken also increases and these are the realities,” he remarked.

Mr. Jobe said with every 1500 chicken raised in this country, one Gambian is directly employed in the production of that chicken and there is additional three or four Gambians who in their various ways are contributing towards that. “So we should look at the issue of local chicken and chicken products as an issue of empowering our people in terms of employment,” he noted.

He said the price of imported chicken sold here is one third the price they sell it in Europe.

Mr. Jobe described poultry as a value chain. He said one of the key components of the chicken business is corn and if corn reduces that can help with the cost of chicken. He therefore called on the government to help the local farmer to grow more corn and then help the poultry farmers in terms of infrastructure development such as land, soft loans, etc.

At the moment they have over 20, 000 chickens which he described as small, adding what they want is to go beyond this.

The Technical Director of Cenelaa Feeds Company Limited told Foroyaa that they produce to serve the market, but the problem is people’s ability to buy as the 100, 000 male chickens they produce a month is costing over a million Dalasi. He said people are willing to buy the local chicken, but they do not have the ability to do so and they normally compare the cost of local chicken with the imported one which is cheaper.

On why the imported chicken is cheaper than the locally produced one, Jobe said he does not exactly know why, but thinks that it has to do with the “dumping of chicken legs.” He said normally chicken should be kept for seven days after the day it has been slaughtered and after which it should be discarded.

Explaining why he is into the business of poultry, Jobe noted that he has passion for animals and one of which is chicken. He said he has been in the business for five years. He explained that his poultry farm raise chickens and day old chicks and that they feed, medicate and take care of them to grow into matured birds. He said they sell both life and dressed chicken.

On how the business contributes to the economy of the country, Jobe stressed that poultry and poultry products significantly contribute to the development of the economy not only financially but in terms of job creation and nutrition sufficiency, noting that it’s the quickest way to create protein.

Highlighting the challenges, he said they are faced with numerous hurdles some of which are being surmounted gradually. Previously, he said, they have a problem of getting a day old chicks which has now been addressed and that now they can produce 100, 000 day old chicks per month. He also noted the problem of feed as there are presently two feed mills in the market.

The other challenge noted by Jobe is the cost of infrastructure.

On a concluding note, Jobe indicated his willingness to provide assistance to anyone who intends to set up a poultry farm, adding that there is need for the venture to be encouraged for people to invest in it.