LOCAL poultry production has increased during the past few years, a growth reflected by the industry's response to market demands, Goodman Fielder International Fiji Limited said.
The comments from general manager Shaun Joils followed claims by a supermarket chain store that the industry was inefficient and faced a shortage over the past six years amid state concessions.
Mr Joils said Fiji's poultry industry provided an affordable source of protein while production over the past few years had significantly increased from approximately 11 million chickens per annum in 2008 to over 15 million chickens today and growing.
"Over the past few years, the industry has invested over $15 million specifically into poultry expansion as a direct strategy to enhance the industry's capability to meet local and regional demands," he said adding that significant investment was further planned.
According to Mr Joils, the industry had, since February this year, opened another 13,000m2 of new poultry farms.
"Our industry is a significant employer with around a thousand workers being actively engaged towards feeding Fiji. The multiplier effect applied to our industry is significant, as we interact with the economy through the engagement of goods and services, tradesmen, construction companies, equipment and packaging suppliers, shipping and supply chain operators, leased buildings and commercial farms, sponsorships and marketing through various media outlets, plus the contributions to corporate social responsibility initiatives, with the list going on," he said.
He said the industry had recently resumed the sale of day old chickens to rural communities and was reviewing its feed pricing to ensure affordability. "This supports the small holder farming model concept which impacts farming in the grass roots level in villages and settlements, positively helping socio-economic development."