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Each of the new houses can hold some 8,000 chickens.
Namibia’s NMI Group is close to completing a US$60 million investment in hatching, broiler chicken growing and feed production to supply the country's demand for chicken meat – with the long-term aim of doubling local per capita consumption.
Construction by subsidiary Namibia Poultry Industries began in April 2011 and should be completed in July. The project is planned to reach full production of 250,000 chickens per week later this year - estimated to be enough to serve the whole Namibian market.
The project provides for a breeder complex with six rearing and 12 production houses to supply 325,000 hatching eggs per week and processing facilities. The hatchery has a capacity of 250,000 day-old chicks per week, supplying the 35 broiler growing houses.
The chickens are being raised on soya and maize-based feed, with no artificial growth stimulants to comply with strict international standards on feed supplements.
When chicken production is fully on stream at Klein Kapuka Farm, as the complex is called, and which is situated between Windhoek and Okahandja, there will be will a permanent staff of 450.
“We have been working with Namibia Poultry since 2005 when their dream started and we congratulate them on their progress in now making this dream a reality,” says, Pieter Oosthuysen, sales, planning and technical services manager with Cobb South Africa, which supplied the parent stock.
The first flock is now in production, while hatching eggs have been imported from South Africa to enable the broiler division to get fully under way. The aim is to reach full production by October.
For the NMI Group, this is the biggest investment in the country in 30 years. NMI invested almost US$20 million of its own funds in the project. Locally owned Bank Windhoek approved loan funding for a slightly larger sum toward the project, with an additional US$20 million investment provided by the Industrial Development Corporation of Southern Africa. In this way more than two-thirds of the funding is local.
The group initially approached other local investors including the GIPF and the Development Bank of Namibia. Although these negotiations did not produce immediate funding, it is understood that a successful project is likely to attract further investment opportunities.
Gys White, managing director of Namibia Poultry Industries, explained that the company would initially target the local market where there is plenty of scope to stimulate demand for chicken. “Per capita consumption of chicken per year is currently 8 kg,” he said. “By focusing on the local market, we believe that Namibia Poultry can easily double the per capita consumption to 15 kg a year."
The new houses have been built using refrigerator-type panels to insulate against heat entering from the environment and are typical of modern poultry houses in southern Africa.
Currently, several South African companies are supplying chicken to Namibia. Koos Feirera, managing director of NMI Group subsidiary Namib Mills, said he believed these companies would be able to cope with losing sales in the country as their local market consumption requirements remained high.
White added that the chicken processing plant complies with European Union standards from production to employment. He explained that, as well as supplying customers directly, the company would look at developing its own branded chicken shops for distributing product throughout Namibia. “Poultry broiler processing was identified as an investment because no broilers are currently being processed in Namibia,” said White. “But we are not going to produce any commercial eggs which are already produced in the country.
“Namibia will become independent in broiler processing in the next few years, and the potential is there to become a net exporter to countries like Angola.”
Namibia Poultry Industries is the third subsidiary of the NMI Group, which also includes Feedmaster and Namib Mills.
According to André Snyman, managing director of Feedmaster, the new project provides an opportunity for Feedmaster to expand its business locally.
A new feed mill is being constructed at the broiler complex, with a capacity of 10,000 metric tons per month and providing 40 new jobs. The current dedicated monogastric feed mill has an annual capacity of 36,000 metric tons for the local broiler industry, 11,000 metric tons for layers and 9,000 metric tons for pigs.
Namibia Poultry has been encouraging South African and other foreign suppliers to use Namibian subcontractors and employment during construction, although it cannot enforce this. During construction, 45 percent of the work was awarded to six Namibian contractors and the remainder to one South African contractor which specializes in modern environmental controlled chicken housing. According to Southern Times, most of the specialized equipment is being imported from Europe through South African agents.
The project is in line with the Namibian government's Vision 2030 development initiative, and provides more than 600 new job opportunities in the country.
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