July 08, 2010

BROILER CHICKEN MARKETING IN SLUMS

Broiler chicken trading is very volatile where prices are determined based on demand-supply in a given market for the day. The broiler prices fluctuate widely and even short surpluses result in a very wide fluctuation in market prices. Consumption of poultry and other meats is adversely affected during religious festivals leading to significant drop in demand (off-season). With the little scope for sale of frozen products or inter regional movement due to preference of live birds, the seasonal swings in demand are causing high volatility for market prices of broilers. Broiler production is marketed mostly by big farmers, integrators, private wholesalers and retailers. In the interior pockets, the producers themselves are marketing in small retail outlets and catering to the local requirements. While most of the broiler birds are consumed within the producing town centers and surrounding areas, surplus broilers at times are marketed to other neighboring towns depending upon the supply and demand position.

In Bangladesh slums Mombasa, small scale broiler keepers (keeping between 125 and 250 birds) have picked up the science and art of broiler chicken keeping as a means of earning a livelihood, a venture that has seen both physical  (dietary) and financial (monetary) fitness of these slum dwelling populace. However, these poultry keepers are challenged financially and technologically, hence require a support for starting or reviving up their enterprise as well as capacity building coupled with regular monitoring activities to enhance their participation in this enterprise. Most of their production ends up satisfying the consumers within slums hence improving slum diet hence healthy population.

Birds are locally slaughtered and processed using locally available facilities (that is, a big sufuria for boiling  water and knives) although city council and veterinary departments are discouraging slaughtering of birds within the Municipal jurisdiction limits except in designated poultry slaughterhouses due to pollution and other issues. After slaughter, these birds are either sold raw (to consumers) or ready-to-eat which are processed by color additives add-up and then deep fried, a process that increase their value hence customers pay slightly more. Bearing in mind that this population bears a low purchasing power, poultry products dealers  have devised a sub-division method that allows a consumer to purchase what he /she can afford  and/ or consume due to poor storage facilities.

Broiler meat dealers on their part face big challenge  of storage of processed or semi-processed meat (bearing in mind that temperatures in Mombasa are too high and the meat and meat products very perishable). This has hindered expansion of poultry marketing in this area. they are forced to process what is enough for populace  for the day without surpluses that may end up in bins. Marketing of their poultry products can me improved by providing them with storage facilities so that they can process and sell their products far and wide, at good prices by avoiding losses they incur while disposing off (selling cheaply) the products for fear of going stale.

Poultry meat dealers, of whom most are also producers if adequately supported, through providing them with storage facilities, better hygienic sale yards  and clean meat handling facilities, sale of slaughtered chicken is expected to increase. this will be as a result of assurance of meat storage and better hygienic meat handling  that will assure safety to the consumer. Consumers could be advised to pay slightly higher amount for this improved service.

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