The entry of global fast food franchises like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) into the Ugandan market has increased the demand for poultry and ultimately given birth to one of the biggest broiler farm and mechanized abattoir with a capacity of slaughtering over 200,000 birds per week.
The multibillion chicken plant estimated to be worth over UShs26billion is located in Semuto, Nakaseke district about 50 kilometres from Kampala and is owned by Hudani Manji Holdings. The company is expected to buffer reliable supply in Uganda and in the long run across East Africa.
According to the managing director of Hudani Manji Holdings Rafik Manji, the new plant is set to reduce the supply gap of poultry products such as chickens on the market. “The demand for chicken protein is on the rise in Uganda among the growing middle class whose lifestyles are changing coupled with the entry of ‘stylish’ international cafes like Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). In addition health conscious middle class too are now opting and appreciating white meat in their diets. These happenings have outstripped supply of broiler meat because there is no dominant integrated player in the Ugandan poultry sector. In fact the sector itself highly unregulated mostly consisting of small suppliers with unreliable supply chains that frustrate both wholesale and retail customers,” he explained.
In agriculture, the poultry sub-sector is one which has not attracted many investors compared to others. The majority of people involved are small holder farmers who cannot always meet the demand for chickens at both local and regional level. He explained that due to the wide gap in supply of chicken products on the Ugandan market this has pushed up the prices of the little available products on the market and yet ideally one would expect chicken products to be available and affordable by the local and middle income consumers in the country.
Manji further noted that the new plant has the capacity to close the supply gap at the moment because its total output capacity stands at 32,500 birds per week and the total abattoir capacity is 2500 birds per hour and 220,000 birds per week.
In order to abide and ensure quality and ward off any health concerns, the company has acquired modern storage facilities. “We have installed cold storage processes in this facility that include transport for both chilled and frozen distribution, to ensures that chicken reaches the customer when they are still fresh and of the best quality”
The abattoir section of the plant is largely automated in order to speed up production process. For instance, the temperature is controlled from the abattoir through the distribution chain until the chicken reaches the customer .This include the superior cleansing spin-chiller before chicken is placed in blast freezers where temperature can drop to below -30 C Degrees and use of infra –red thermometers before packing to ensure the birds temperature are maintained between 0 and 10-C Degrees.
The company currently employs over 300 people on permanent basis most of them locals and therefore aiding in the fight against unemployment with over 60 percent of the youth in the country estimated to be unemployed according. In addition, the set up of the farm is good news for cereal farmers. All the main ingredients for the feed mill are sourced locally and therefore I expect an increase in investment in primary agriculture and processing of crops like maize and Soya beans. as our plant is going to offer lucrative market opportunities for these products. Plans are underway for the company to team up with local farmers who would like to supply it with broilers.
The company is already supplying Kentucky Fried Chicken, a global fast food franchise which opened in Kampala recently as well as Fresh Cuts, a leading food processor in Uganda among others.