U.S. ambassador visits KZNPI

2017-03-22 06:02
PHOTO:suppliedVisiting the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institution (from left) Walter Gwala (KZN Poultry Institute facilitator), Jessica Lapenn (acting U.S. ambassador), Janet Lee (KZN Poultry Institute general manager), Frances Chisholm (U.S. Consul General).

PHOTO:suppliedVisiting the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institution (from left) Walter Gwala (KZN Poultry Institute facilitator), Jessica Lapenn (acting U.S. ambassador), Janet Lee (KZN Poultry Institute general manager), Frances Chisholm (U.S. Consul General).

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DESPITE poultry farming experiencing difficulties, KwaZulu Poultry Institution (KZNPI) remains hopeful of a turnaround in fortunes.

This was revealed at a visit of the acting U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Jessye
Lappen at the KZNPI in Pietermaritzburg last week.

After being in operation for 26 years, KZNPI has now started a course to teach poultry farmers about the industry and the advantages and disadvantages thereof.

“It’s a make or break business. What we have done is to have a business course as well. This is aimed to assist farmers with strategies on how to manage their business while making a profit.

“Farmers mostly opt to sell to an end
user rather than retailers as they don’t
make much profit,” said KZNPI director,
Janet Lee.

The one-week course, which began this year, has enrolled over 60 farmers across SA, but mostly from KZN.

Course facilitator Walter Gwala said the course costs R4 500.

“It’s not every day where you get to practice the textbook stuff.

“Here we teach farmers practical farming.

“We enable trainees to feel how it is to be involved in the poultry industry. We have enjoyed a balanced gender in terms of our trainees,” he said.

Gwala said though they receive support at provincial and national level, there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.

“The Department of Agriculture has assisted us with funds. However, we would like to get an extended budget to ensure we offer the best service to as many farmers as possible,” said Gwala.

Recently over 1 000 people were left unemployed after one of the biggest poultry companies, Rainbow Chicken, closed some of its farms. This led to many declaring the industry in crisis. It was said that imported chicken played a huge role in the closure of the farms.

Lapenn said they were aware of the negative criticism about U.S. exporting chicken to South Africa.

“Our main aim is to create a terrific relationship between the two countries.

“Though there’s room for imported chicken, we would like to see more SA farmers grow in the industry.

“We are not taking their bread away as has been reported,” she said.

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