Small scale poultry farmers in Limpopo say escalating prices of chicken products are affecting their businesses. There are growing concerns by consumers and chicken producers that prices of chicken are getting higher. This is largely due to the impact of COVID-19, rising inflation, and tax.
Producers, who mainly supply rural markets, say they are working at a loss.
For about ten years, Kamogelo Olaitan has been breeding and selling chickens from her home in Ga-Semenya, Moletjie. On the premises, there is an incubator where she hatches eggs.
Olaitan sells day-old chicks, eggs as well as chicken. She says the price of chicken feed has been going up in recent months, which is negatively affecting her output.
“The challenges we have right now is the price of feeds, they have been going up since early this year I think from January they have been going up and we expect them to go up again in May, and the other challenge we have is load shedding and load reduction.”
Olaitan employs a total of five people. She is concerned that if profit margins remain as low as they are, she will be forced to lay off some of her employees.
“We are spending more in the business than what we are making we are basically just surviving, in this business you ask yourself should I go on? what am I making? the profit is not what it used to be three years ago, and also with the lack of funding, we have land, but you need money to build, you need money to stock on fertile eggs.”
Limpopo Agriculture spokesperson, Joshua Kwapa, says the government is working closely with poultry producers in the province.
“We are quite aware of the difficulties they are going through, as a matter of fact, we’ve got programs aimed at assisting smallholder farmers including poultry we obviously look at the whole range, through Letsema and Fetsa Tlala we assist our farmers in terms of feeds, in terms of day-old chicks.”
The increased prices of chicken will no doubt hurt poorer households.