Nelly Bassily | January 5, 2009
In Douala’s Sandaga market, hundreds of crates of meat chickens have been arranged in an area about 500 metres square. This is a pilot chicken market, initiated by Cameroon’s poultry farmers’ association, IPAVIC, with the support of the government and hatchery operators. Here, a chicken weighing 1.8 to 2 kilograms is sold directly to the consumer for a fixed price of 2,200 CFA (about 4.5 American dollars or 3.3 Euros).
Ahmadou Moussa is president of IPAVIC. According to Mr. Moussa, the goal of the pilot market is to bypass the dealers who normally profit off the backs of the chicken farmers. The market also offers better prices to consumers.
Guy Feuzeu is a small-scale farmer from the small town of Kolbong, about 20 kilometres from Douala. Like many other farmers, he comes to Douala to sell his chickens. For him, it’s advantageous to have his product taken to market as part of the IPAVIC initiative. Normally, traders come to his farm to buy 1.8-2 kilogram chickens for between 1,900 and 1,950 CFA (about 4 American dollars or 3 Euros). Traders then resell the chickens for about 2,500 CFA (about 5 American dollars or 4 Euros).
Now, to Mr. Feuzeu’s delight, things are different. Through the pilot market, he sells directly to the consumer, and earns at least 200 extra CFA (about 40 American cents or 0.3 Euros) per bird. Plus he gets the cash in hand sooner. When he sells to traders, he gets only 50 per cent cash up front, with the rest coming later. As Mr. Feuzeu will tell you, it often takes several phone calls or visits to get the second payment. As a result, the profits from his 2,000-chicken operation fell. Mr. Feuzeu hopes to see the direct market initiative continue, as it allows him to live better off the fruits of his labour.
Christophe Moume Etia also vows to stay with the pilot market. As a chicken cleaner in the New Déido market of Douala, he used to pluck at least 20 to 25 chickens a day, earning 100 CFA per chicken (about 20 American cents or 0.15 Euros), or about 2,000 to 2,500 CFA (5 American dollars or 4 Euros) for a day’s work.
Now that Mr. Moume Etia has moved to the Sandaga market, his income has increased tenfold in a matter of days. Now Mr. Feuzeu and Mr. Moume Etia wait impatiently for the next pilot market, hoping that this system of selling directly to the consumer will continue.