Tanzania has imposed a total ban on importation of day-old chicks with effect from next week as it seeks to protect its local hatcheries and limit the inflow of substandard chicks.
With the aim of protecting the local poultry market, the government has said it would no longer issue permits for chicken import from July 30, the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries said in a statement issued last weekend.
According to the statement, the decision was reached after a meeting between Deputy Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdallah Ulega with poultry business stakeholders in the capital Dodoma.
The aim of the decision is the implementation of the law of 2006 where the government has been preventing chicken importation from abroad in order to control the bird flu pandemic and to protect the local poultry market.
In his opening speech during the meeting, he said the government does not expect to see any imported day old chicks.
"It is our expectation that after July 30, we will not see anyone import day old chicks in the country from anywhere,” the statement read.
The government, Mr Ulega said, is currently collecting poultry industry data to ascertain the demand for day-old chicks.
The meeting, according to the statement, discussed various agendas including the availability of day old chicks, poultry feed and market price of chicken.
Local poultry producers, Organia and Mkuza Chicks, had decried the rise in smuggled chicks sold at lower prices.
Most incubators in the country are selling day-old chicks at an average price of $0.85, while the smuggled chicks sell at $0.5 per chick.
In 2016, Tanzania banned the importation of chicks and fresh poultry meat from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa and the US to protect local farmers.
On October 31, 2017, government authorities in Arusha destroyed 6,400 chicks imported from Kenya through the Namanga border crossing. The ban was later lifted.
Most of the day-old chicks are imported from the United Kingdom and South Africa, with substantial quantities imported from Kenya and Zambia.