Keepers want to weigh chickens before sale

TANZANIA: The poultry keepers are making losses by selling their products without using weighing scales.

The current market trend shows that poultry keepers are selling chickens by estimating their weight or at flat rates regardless of the bird’s weight.

The Tanzania Broiler Farmers Association (TABROFA) Chairperson, Mr Alloyce Makoye, asked the government to enact some regulations that ban selling chicken without weighing them at retail and wholesale markets.

“It’s difficult for us to mobilise keepers and enforce the use of weight when selling the birds,” Mr Makoye said, “Using the government power, we can easily change the practice and start introducing such law.”

The cattle auction system, two decades ago, mainly Pugu market required the animals to be weighed before selling them.

He said the practice ensures the sellers and buyers are getting their dues accordingly. But this also died a natural death.

“By estimating the weight of cattle or poultry, denies keepers a handsome return of their investment,” Mr Makoye told the Daily News recently.

For instance, selling a chicken by estimating its weight kills keepers, poultry and cattle, the ability to expand businesses while benefiting middlemen.

The average current price of a chicken, without taking into account its weight, is 6,500/- and for a cow is 900,000/-.

For instance, Mr Makoye said, that at the current chicken price of between 6,000/- and 6,500/-, a keeper is losing a lot since the same bird can be sold between 10,000/- and 13,000/- based on its weight.

“This is a very big challenge for poultry farmers to grow their businesses,” said Mr Makoye.

The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Veterinary Services Director, Prof Nonga Hesron said poultry keepers are scattered around and implementing such an idea is not an easy task.

“However,” Prof Hesron said, “keeper should organise themselves and start sensitising themselves on the importance of selling chicken after weighing them because are the ones who meet buyers and incur losses if sell at low prices.”

He said it was not easy for the government to change poultry keepers’ mindset if themselves are not ready to change.

“Most keepers are wholesaling their chickens at the farms since there is no a single wholesale market countywide. This increases the task of regulating the poultry sector in the country,” Prof Hesron told ‘Daily News’ yesterday.

Additionally, the keepers are facing the high cost of chicks which are sold between 1,800 and 1,900/-plus other operation costs such as chicken feed, vaccination and the like.

A poultry keeper, Ms Joyce Anthony, seconded the idea of weighing chickens before selling them saying such a system might change the sector’s way of doing business while protecting farmers.

“I decided to shift from broilers to layers keeping and at least I am seeing my return on investment…since I am setting the price of the birds after their egg production dwindles,” Ms Anthony, who has been in the business for the last six years, told Daily News.

The country is estimated to have more than 100 million chickens whereby 57 per cent are commercial and 43 per cent are local chickens.

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