Council Begins West African Poultry Training Program With Moroccan Partners

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Moroccan Poultry Association (known as FISA) sponsored the first in a series of training programs for West African poultry producers this month in Casablanca, with FISA and the Senegalese Poultry Association further cementing their relationship through a new memorandum of cooperation. 

The outreach was designed as a train-the-trainers program with the eight participants from Senegal also attending field visits to commercial poultry operations, feed mills and marketing channels to offer firsthand examples of how to apply lessons learned. The memorandum of cooperation outlined plans for future such events with additional groups. 

Poultry training programs like this one both benefit regional poultry producers and provide the foundation for longer-term development of poultry industries in the participating countries. 

As the Council looks to do more work in West Africa, the Moroccan poultry industry is a valuable partner that can demonstrate the rapid evolution of their own poultry sector over the past 20 years and provide a model for other countries to follow. 

“The Council has made a commitment to leverage the extremely successful Moroccan program as a training program to begin our engagement in West Africa,” said Kurt Shultz, senior director of global strategies, who oversees the Council’s work in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. 

“The Council believes the African poultry sector will expand dramatically due to powerful demographic changes occurring in the region. Economic growth and rapid urbanization are leading to changes in diets that require more meat protein.” 

Poultry is the cheapest and most commonly-consumed meat source in West Africa. As a result, poultry demand continues to expand, but the West African poultry sector is at a competitive disadvantage due to high production costs, weak biosecurity and disease prevention systems, and a lack of integration among poultry producers. Preliminary USGC assessments highlighted the weakness of technical and managerial skills across the region as the underlying constraint to future development. 

As the poultry sector grows and expands, the need to import inputs, including feed ingredients and poultry equipment, will also increase, opening the doors for U.S. grain and equipment exports to West Africa. West African countries have already started importing U.S. corn, with Senegal and Nigeria importing about 200,000 metric tons (7.8 million bushels) in 2016. 

These imports represent only a trickle compared to the 2.5 million metric tons (989 million bushels) of U.S. corn imported by the North African region in 2016. Yet, they are a start for future demand, with a combined population of 245 million people in the 14 countries of West Africa, compared to 180 million people in the five countries of North Africa. The Council projects future growth for feed grain demand in the region will come from West Africa, led primarily by the poultry sector. 

To meet that rising demand, the Council will continue to expand its regional engagement in West Africa to include more of the region’s poultry producers in the coming months