Africa The forgotten continent - Patterns and dynamics of the African egg industry

Part 2: Laying hen inventory and egg production

PROF. I. R. Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst

Keywords: Africa; egg industry; laying hens; laying hen inventories; egg production

 

Analyses dealing with the development and patterns of the global egg industry in most cases focus on Europe, North America and Eastern Asia. With the exception of a few countries, Africa and Oceania are not in the centre of scientific research. In two papers, the gap will be filled. The first paper dealt with the laying hen inventories and egg production, the second will document the patterns in the five African sub-regions.

 

Large imbalance between the share in population and egg production

A comparison between the share of the five African sub-regions in the continent´s population and in egg production reveals a large imbalance (Table 1). In 2018, the countries of Northern Africa shared 18.6% in the population but contributed 31.8% to the laying hen inventory and 44.4% to egg production. In contrast, Eastern African countries shared 33.1% in the continent´s population but contributed only 18.5% to the laying hen population and only 15.6% to egg production. The imbalance was highest in Middle Africa with a share of 13.3% in Africa´s population but only 1.4% in egg production. A closer look at the relation between the shares of the sub-regions in the laying hen inventories and in egg production indicates large differences in the efficiency of production systems. The analysis at the level of the single sub-regions will document the wide gaps in more detail.

 

Considerable differences in the development of the laying hen inventories

Between 2008 and 2018, the laying hen inventory in Africa increased from 455.1 mill. to 518.2 mill. head or by 13.9%, 5.5% lower than the global growth rate. Table 2 shows that de dynamics between the sub-regions differed considerably. In Northern Africa, the number of laying hens grew by 51.5 mill. head or 45.0%, followed by Eastern Africa with 19.3 mill. head or 25.2%. In contrast, inventories in Southern and Western Africa decreased by 5.1 mill. respectively 4.1 mill. head. Western African countries lost 6.4% of their contribution to the continent´s laying hen flock in the analysed decade, Southern Africa 2.2%. In contrast, Northern African countries gained 6.9% and Eastern African countries 1.7%. The contribution of Middle Africa remained unchanged. To the absolute growth of 63.1 mill. hens, Northern Africa contributed 51.5 mill. or 81.6%. This documents the remarkable dynamics in the sub-region despite the AI outbreaks (see part 1). The dynamics at country level will be analysed in a later chapter.

Table 1:
The share of the African sub-regions in the continent´s population, laying hen inventory and egg production in 2018
(Source: FAO database)

*sum does not add because of rounding

Table 2:
The development of the laying hen inventories in the African sub-regions between 2008 and 2018
(Source: FAO database)


Egg production grew faster than the laying hen inventory

Between 2008 and 2018, egg production in Africa increased from 2.6 mill. t to 3.2 mill. t or by 22.1%. The relative growth rate was 8.2% higher than that of the laying hen inventory. This is an indicator for the growing efficiency of laying husbandry in some sub-regions. To the absolute increase of 576,500 t, countries in Northern Africa contributed 499,900 t or 86.7%, indicating a considerably higher efficiency in the laying hen husbandry in the sub-region. With the exception of Western Africa, the production volume grew in all sub-regions. In Western Africa, egg production decreased by 62,600 t or by 7.6%. It is worth noting that despite the decline of the laying hen inventory, egg production in Southern Africa grew by 25,600 t or 5.9%. As will be shown in a later part of the analysis, this was a result of the dynamics in South Africa.
A comparison of the regional patterns in 2008 and 2018 reveals a considerable dynamics. Northern Africa´s share in the continent´s egg production increased by 9.3% and reached 44.4%, Eastern Africa´s by 0,7%. In contrast, the contribution of the three other sub-regions decreased. The highest loss occurred in Western Africa with 7.7%, followed by South Africa with 2.3%. The contribution of Middle Africa fell by 0.1%. A closer look at the data in Tables 2 and 3 shows some interesting facts. In 2018, Northern African countries contributed 44.4% to Africa´s egg production and shared 31.8% in the laying hen inventory, Southern African countries 14.5% in the egg production volume but only 7.8% in the hen flocks.

Table 3:
The development of the egg production in the African sub-regions between 2008 and 2018
(Source: FAO database)

*sum does not add because of rounding

The situation in the sub-regions in 2018

The following part of the analysis will document the situation in the five sub-regions in 2018 at country level in order to identify the leading countries and the regional concentration. The sub-regions will be analysed according to their share in Africa´s egg production.

Northern Africa

In 2018, 165 mill. laying hens in the six Northern African countries produced 1.4 mill. t eggs (Table 4). A comparison of the contribution of the single countries to the sub-region´s laying hen inventories and to egg production reveals some interesting insights. Morocco shared 39.8% in the laying hen inventory but only 28.0% in the egg production of the sub-region. In contrast, Egypt contributed 18.8% to the layer flocks but 32.1% to egg production. The egg production per hen and year differed considerably between Egypt with 14.6 kg and only 4.4 kg in Tunisia. Obviously, larger amounts of hybrid hens were kept in Egypt and Algeria in contrast to the other countries. In Egypt, a laying hen laid between 250 and 265 eggs per year, assuming an average egg weight of 55 g to 58 g.

Western Africa

In the 16 Western African countries, almost 205 mill. laying hens produced 762,800 t of eggs. To this production volume, Nigeria contributed 481,400 t or 63.1%. (Table 5). The average egg volume produced by the 106.4 mill. laying hens was 4.5 kg per year. With an average egg weight of 55 g this equaled 82 eggs. Higher production values were reached in Cabo Verde and Liberia. The lowest production per hen showed Benin with only 0.9 kg or 17 eggs per year. The average of only 3.7 kg egg volume per hen and year indicates that in this sub-region mainly local breeds were used as double purpose hens for egg and meat production. In Nigeria, several integrated egg farms use hybrid hens (FAO 2018). The dominating role of this country was obviously a result of the population of 195.8 mill. head and a growing domestic demand. The country has recovered fast from severe Avian Influenza outbreaks (Kayali 2016) and improved the biosecurity on the large egg farms.

Table 4:
Egg production and laying hen inventories in Northern African countries in 2018 
(Source: FAO database; own calculation)
*sum does not add because of rounding

Table 5:
Egg production and laying hen inventories in Western African countries in 2018
(Source: FAO database; own calculation)
*sum does not add because of rounding


Southern Africa

In Southern Africa, the regional concentration of the laying hen inventory and of egg production was extremely high (Table 6). South Africa shared 95.2 % of the sub-region´s laying hens and even 98.2% of egg production. The egg industry in the other four countries was only of minor importance. The production of 11.8 kg eggs per hen and year is an indicator for the use of hybrid hens in vertically integrated companies which dominated the South African egg industry. Laying hen husbandry and egg production were severely hit by massive outbreaks of the Avian Influenza virus (H5N8) in the second half of 2017. About 4.7 mill. head or about 20% of the laying hen population in commercial farms were lost, which resulted in massive supply problems for the population with eggs. From 2018 on, the industry has recovered and implemented high biosecurity measures (Botha 2018).

Eastern Africa

The regional pattern of the egg industry in Eastern Africa differed considerably from that in the other sub-regions, as the regional concentration was much lower. No country was in a dominating position. The four leading countries shared 59.9% in the laying hen inventory and 60.2% in egg production (Table 7). In Tanzania, 108,700 t of eggs were produced by 16.2 mill. hens. This equaled a production of 6.7 kg respectively 122 eggs per hen and year. In contrast, 83,552 t were produced by 18.9 mill. hens in Kenya, which equaled only 4.4 kg eggs per hen. The low average production per hen in several Eastern African countries is an indicator for the low development status of the egg industry and the use of local breeds in small backyard flocks. The lack of knowhow and capital as well as the political and economic instability, the threat of Avian Influenza outbreaks were the main barriers to a dynamical development. With 422.6 mill. inhabitants, the sub-region shared 33.1% of Africa´s population but contributed only 15.6% to the egg production volume. This imbalance impressively documents the need for a more efficient egg industry, which would be able to supply the fast growing population with a high-value protein (Byrne 2020, FAO 2018, Okai 2019).

Table 6:
Egg production and laying hen inventories in Southern African countries in 2018
(Source: FAO database; own calculation)
*sum does not add because of rounding

Table 7:
Egg production and laying hen inventories in Eastern African countries in 2018 
(Source: FAO database; own calculation)
*sum does not add because of rounding

Table 8: Egg production and laying hen inventories in Middle African countries in 2018 
(Source: FAO database; own calculation)
*sum does not add because of rounding


Middle Africa

In 2018, 13.3% of Africa´s population lived in the nine countries of this sub-region. It shared 7.8% in the laying hen inventory and only 1.4% in the continent´s egg production (Table 8). The imbalance is an indicator for the comparatively low standard of laying hen husbandry and egg production. With an average of 3.7 kg or 70 eggs per hen and year, the sub-region reached the same value as Western Africa. The highest production per hen showed Chad with 6.4 kg, which equaled 120 eggs, the lowest, Sao Tomé and Principe with 2.2 kg respectively 40 eggs. Most farmers kept small backyard flocks of local double purpose breeds, which were used for egg as well as for meat production. The production values disclose, however, the very low egg supply for the population. With an average of 0.07 hens per inhabitant, Middle Africa showed the lowest hen density of all sub-regions. In addition, the regional concentration was comparatively high. The two leading countries, Cameroon and the D. R. Congo, shared 66.5% of the laying hen inventory and 56.6% of the sub-region´s egg production. This indicates that in several countries for many inhabitants eggs were not available at all.

Summary

The preceding analysis could document the imbalance in the five African sub-regions between their share in the continent´s population and in egg production. While in Northern and Southern Africa the contribution to egg production was higher than the share in population, the situation in the other three sub-regions was the opposite. There were also large differences between their share in the laying hen inventories and in egg production. In Northern and Southern Africa, their contribution to egg production was higher than their share in the laying hen inventories; the opposite was the case in the three other sub-regions. Within the sub-regions, the regional concentration in egg production differed considerably. It was very high in Southern and Western Africa, where one or two countries dominated production, and much lower in the other sub-regions. The average egg production per hen and year was highest in Southern Africa with 11.5 kg, followed by Northern Africa with 8.6 kg. In contrast, only 3.7 kg were reached in Western and Middle Africa. At country level, Egypt ranked in the top position with 14.6 kg eggs per hen and year, followed by Algeria with 13.2 kg and South Africa with 11.8 kg. The low average in many less and least developed countries is an indicator for the low efficiency of their laying hen husbandry and their problems to supply a fast growing population with eggs.



Data source and additional literature

Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (Hrsg.): Economic impact of the
2017 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in South Africa.Pretoria, February 2018. (Verfügbar unter: https://www.bfap.co.za/economic-impact-of-the-2017-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-outbreak-in-south-africa-2; Aufruf: 23. 5. 2020)

Botha, C.: The status of egg production in South Africa In: Randfontain Herald, October 2nd, 2018. (Verfügbar unter: https://randfonteinherald.co.za/284850/6am-2-octthe-status-of-egg-production-in-sa; Aufruf: 17. 5. 2020)

Byrne, J: Africa: Poultry and eggs are the winning proteins, with demand for feed and genetics ecpected to rise sharply. In: Feed Navigator, 24. 2. 2020. (Verfügbar unter: https://www.feednavigator.com/Article/2020/02/24/Africa-s-rising-poultry-and-egg-market; Aufruf 23. 5. 2020)
FAO database: www.faostat.org.

FAO: A Profile of the South African Egg Industry Egg Market Value Chain 2012. (Verfügbar unter: http://www.fao.org/3/a-at294e.pdf; Aufruf: 18. 5. 2020)

FAO: With avian influenza looming FAO builds local capacities in northeastern Nigeria. (Verfügbar unter: http://www.fao.org/resilience/news-events/detail/en/c/1202030; Aufruf: 25. 5. 2020)

FAO (ed.): Livestock and Poultry Spotlight Nigeria. Rome 2018. (Verfügbar unter: http://www.fao.org/3/CA2149EN/ca2149en.pdf; Aufruf: 18. 5. 2020)

Kayali, G. et al.: Avian Influenza A (H5N1) virus in Egypt. In: Emerging Infectious Diseases 22 (2016), no. 3, p. 379-888. (Verfügbar unter: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4766899; Aufruf: 17. 5. 2020)

Kriel, G.: Egg Markets: Poultry Farming in South Africa 2020. (Verfügbar unter: http://southafrica.co.za/egg-markets.html; Aufruf: 17. 5. 2020)

Okai, F. K.: How Nigeria´s young poultry farmers are turning the problem of waste on its head. In: The Poultry Site 13.12. 2019. (Verfügbar unter: https://thepoultrysite.com/articles/how-nigerias-young-poultry-farmers-are-turning-the-problem-of-waste-on-its-head; Aufruf: 23. 5. 2020)

Olam Grains: Nigeria Poultry Factsheet. (Verfügbar unter: https://www.olamgroup.com/content/dam/olamgroup/pdffiles/poultry-factsheet-e-version.pdf; Aufruf: 25. 5., 2020)

South African Poultry Association (Ed.): Egg Industry Stats Summary for 2017. (Verfügbar unter: http://www.sapoultry.co.za/pdf-statistics/Egg-industry-stats-summary.pdf; Aufruf 17. 5. 2020)