Senegal-Fact Finding Mission on Poultry

The poultry fact-finding mission was part of the results set out in the Netherlands embassies annual plan, namely the strenghtening of the poultry sector in Sénégal.

baby chick

Many Senegalese rely on marine fish for the bulk of the animal protein in their diets. Increasing pressure on marine fish stocks is thus a particularly important issue. Protecting and replenishing these fish stocks is needed. However, alternatives also need to be developed.  Eggs and chicken meat are gram for gram the next most affordable animal protein after sardines, which many would consider the national food of Senegal. Over the last decade poultry production has made a leap forward- both in terms of volumes produced and in the means of production. Today, most chicken is produced in a highly efficient large agro-industrial model. Small-scale producers have shifted to broiler production using imported genetics. The port of Dakar provides imported feed ingredients at competitive prices to producers, the majority of whom are clustered nearby along the coast and in Thiès. Sedima, the largest producer of chicken and eggs, now also produces hatching eggs locally. This  increases the possibilities for local small-scale producer who already have ready access to imported supplies. This has created a relatively professional and efficient production model with feed conversion rates in line with global norms.

Some would argue that the development of production has far outpaced the ability of the market to absorb these chickens and eggs. Large industrial chicken producers in other countries have the luxury of being able to direct excess production volumes to the processing and food services (Hotel Restaurant and Catering) chain. In Senegal this is not the case. The market is oriented towards live chicken sale in open markets with few-if any- refrigeration points. The food services sector is small and processed chicken products are virtually unheard of. As a result, competition for market access is intense and intensifying. Large producers find themselves hemmed in by a lack of market development and outlets for their frozen chicken, but, having made significant fixed asset investments to ramp up their scale and produce competitively. For smaller commercial farmers oversupply means longer gaps between the end of the production cycle and the sale of the birds. This “over-run” has dire consequences for profitability because every day a fully-grown chicken is kept alive is money lost on feed. Furthermore, it reduces the number of production cycles per year. Any time there is a dip in demand the producers hold on to the birds that bit longer, affecting their ability to clear the cages and start a new rotation. If birds could be processed and frozen there would more flexibility in the system.

This strain in the market creates a cap on the scale of small-scale producers. At a scale below 2000 birds they can market their birds and eggs reasonably well. Any larger and this is not the case. Scaling up also requires greater investment in cooling to ensure that production can happen year around. The consequences are clear. There are few producers who produce at this middle scale. There seems to be some sense in identifying what can be done to help small scale commercial producers make a leap rather than a stepwise transition from small to medium and then large industrial scale.

There’s a big overlap between broiler and egg producers in Senegal. As with broilers, egg production is similarly hampered by a lack of processing market.  In modern egg production systems this sector absorbs the vast majority of eggs. This creates regular boom and bust cycles for producers who are enticed in to egg production by rising prices and low barriers to entry in the egg market. Then as the market nears saturation, prices fall leaving many producers unable to sell their excess eggs. Producers exit, creating conditions for lower availability of eggs and rising prices. This begins the cycle anew. Finding an answer to the processing gap is thus critical to ensuring that the boom bust cycles regularly seen in egg production is broken.

The poultry fact-finding mission was part of the results set out in the embassies annual plan, namely the strenghtening of the poultry sector in Sénégal. A mission to Sénégal that took place  from 13th to 17th March 2023 was organised by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dakar, the Netherlands enterprise and Evelopment Agency (RVO), the Netherlands African Business Countil (NABC) and the Agricultural Council for Sénégal and Côte d´Ivoire.  The fact-finding mission proved to be a good momentum to re-energise Dutch and Sénégalese relations and to place emphasis on poultry value chain development in Sénégal.  The mission focus was slaughter and pocessing,  product conservation, cold chain control, transport, logistics, waste management and poultry feed production.  

The mission proved to be a good momentum to re-energise Dutch and Sénégalese relations and to place emphasis on poutry value chain development.  

Should you be interest in partnership with Sénégal, please do not to hesitate to contact the Agricultural Advisor, Vivane Faye ( at  the Netherlands embassy in Dakar.