Harsh summer weather has reeked havoc on the country's poultry industry, with officially estimates of loses at some 8.6 million dirhams, but unofficial estimates far higher.
The Moroccan Federation of Poultry Professionals (FISA/private) said the farmers lost about US$ 3.5 million dollars in consumption eggs production alone.
Some 3.81 million chickens were killed by the heavy heat that hit Morocco during the summer, the
federation said. However, local farmers in the Moroccan capital of Rabat say the heat killed
more than 8 million chickens.
Morocco has a semi-arid weather, with temperatures varying between 25 and 46 degree Celsius in the
Officials said the heavy losses were largely due to a lack of cooling equipment in most poultry farms, which are generally ill-prepared for natural hazards like heat and cold.
The loss also impacted fish and egg consumption, as their prices almost doubled. Chickens are currently being sold for 30 dh (US$3 dollar) a kilo compared to US$1.5 dollars before the heat wave.
According to Mr. Shakouri Jerrari, head of FISA, this summer's crisis worsened the problems the sector
has been facing since 1988, when chicken prices fell.
He explained the collapse in prices (before the summer) to the sharp decrease in demand due to
consumers' deteriorating purchasing power.
Poultry farmers also complain about heavy taxes. According to the International Egg Commission (IEC),
Morocco has the third heaviest poultry taxes in the world.
The poultry sector does not benefit from tax exemption in Morocco, unlike many other farming sectors, such as like livestock breeding.
The poultry farmers called on the government to include their sector among the industries benefiting from tax exemption and to lower duties on the importation of poultry fodder.
They argued that the sector can play an important role in the country's economic, by making the country more food self-sufficient and helping create jobs. –(Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )