By Melie Chipula Bayani
Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) officials say they are promoting competition in the poultry industry, as one way of boosting the economy of the country.
The sentiments follow a report published by the Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) in December 2022, a research institute under the University of Johannesburg, which cited that Malawi lacks competition in the poultry industry and is dominated by few players.
The paper, titled “Competition Issues and Regional Integration in Soybean and Animal Feed to Poultry Markets”, within and across Kenya, Malawi and Zambia, notes that a few large integrated commercial producers account for the majority of broiler production, feed production as well as all abattoirs and processing facilities.
But while acknowledging the challenges, Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) Public Relations Officer, Innocent Helema said despite the challenges the poultry industry is facing in Malawi, which include lack of competition on the market, the Commission is doing a lot to change the status quo.
“We have handled a number of complaints most of which have been resolved and we have taken a number of steps in ensuring that there is competition in the sector, we did a market study in 2019 which highlighted a number of problems that authorities are working to resolve them”, said Helema.
Based on the findings, the paper recommends reshaping the poultry value chain, and agricultural markets more widely, by among others, implementing policies that support smaller producers and having effective referees for markets such as CFTC and the COMESA Competition Commission.
Commenting on the development, Agriculture specialist Felix Jumbe said unless Malawians in rural areas consider poultry farming as any kind of farming, the country would be able to export chickens and eggs to other countries.
He said among the few who have joined poultry farming so far, are not indigenous Malawians but investors from other countries which he said is a worrisome development.
“We are lagging behind on the promotion of chickens and eggs, and there are no concerted efforts by the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that we are exporting eggs and chickens to other countries. Malawi has the potential to be producing more of these but Malawi especially in rural areas, do not consider chicken farming as a business”, said Jumbe.
Jumbe has since asked the government to institute more policies that will promote poultry farming in the country, other than only relying on Maize, Tobacco, and Cotton.