Determinants of Profitability of Indigenous Chickens in Swaziland
As a move towards ensuring food security and income generation, the Ministry of Agriculture advocates for the commercialisation of indigenous chickens. In 2008, the ministry embarked on a commercialisation training programme. The main purpose of the study was to conduct an economic analysis of the indigenous chickens’ production in Swaziland, as well as factors affecting profitability of indigenous chickens’ production. Using a stratified random sampling technique, the study used primary data from a sample of 147 smallholder poultry farmers who have been trained by poultry officers on indigenous poultry production in the four regions of Swaziland. A cost - benefit analysis was used to determine profitability and the Cobb Douglas production function was used to identify factors affecting profitability of indigenous chickens. The results revealed an adjusted R2 of 0.85, hence the variables in the model explained 85% of the variation in profitability. The results further showed that profitability of indigenous chickens was E0.40 per E1.00 of feed costs. Feed cost, market price, stock size, number of birds sold and number of birds consumed significantly (p< 0.10) affected profitability.. It is recommended that farmers organize themselves to take advantage of discounts when purchasing feed. The Swaziland Government need to construct a hatchery, mini - abattoir and storage facilities per region to improve the production of indigenous chickens. The hatcheries can allow farmers to use incubators to improve hatchability. Farmers can also use the abattoirs to slaughter and dress their chickens and then store them in cold storage for sale. Research on market size and spread should be undertaken to determine the demand patterns of indigenous chickens.
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