Small-scale Poultry Squeezed by Feed Price Increase
The Small and Medium Poultry Farmers Association has expressed concern over a 90 percent price increase in feed prices by the country’s two major feed makers since the beginning of the year, saying it will affect their businesses.
Chairman for the association Hasheem Banda has bemoaned the price increase, arguing it could force some poultry farmers to withdraw from the business.
Banda says currently they are engaging stakeholders to ensure that small poultry farmers are given resources that could help them produce their own feed.
“There are some initiatives that are being done by the government but there are still some other conditions that are not favourable to small and medium poultry farmers, so we are going to engage the government,” he said.
He says they will also engage the Competition and Fair Trading Commission to look into the issue arguing there is a possibility of price collusion by the two companies.
“We are extremely worried about the behavior of these two companies. Yes, they are operating as two different entities based on their registration but at the same time when you look at their conduct on the market, it is like one company; one is the branch of the other,” he said.
He adds, “We believe and we suspect that there are unfair trading practices that are being practiced by these two companies considering their conduct.”
However, Executive Director for Central Poultry Limited Yasin Kasimani and Proto Feeds Revenue Manager Roweena Osman have attributed the increase in the price of poultry and animal feeds to the high cost of production material.
They denied the accusations of price manipulation, saying the prices reflect the reality on the ground.
Meanwhile, Acting Executive Director of The Competition and Fair-Trading Commission Apoche Itimu says the commission will look into the concern upon receipt of a complaint.
“I am hearing this for the first time and will investigate the concerns when we receive them,” she said.
Speculation is rife that the companies are manipulating the sector after Central Poultry Limited withdrew a proposal to acquire a 10 percent stake in Kamponji Enterprises, Protos mother company, in April this year following a backlash from the Small and Medium Poultry Farmers Association and the Consumers Association of Malawi, saying it could lead to monopoly.
For example, a 50-kilogram bag of broiler chicken feed at Proto is now selling at K44, 000 from K25,200 in June last after selling adjustment in between the months. The two companies have just effected new prices on October 10.