Benin's impoverished population survive on imported, cheap frozen chickens from Europe and the US. But relying on cast-off chickens is putting local farmers out of work and posing serious health risks.
In Benin, 150,000 tonnes of foreign poultry passes through the main port every year. For the countries of origin, it is a convenient way to offload tough old hens. While for the people of Benin, the cheap and widely available chicken is a welcome source of meat. "Laying hens are a bit tough for European tastes", says importer Kenneth Adiho, "but we love them". However, the imported meat has dealt a heavy blow to local farmers. Once a profession for young entrepreneurs, Agriculture is now doomed. "The importing of frozen chicken is killing the youth and they will react by flocking to the Western world", predicts one out-of-work farmer. In a country where nearly 50% are under 15 this could have serious implications. Moreover, defrosted, exposed to sunlight, and then refrozen, the poultry risks being infected by bacteria that can cause diseases like salmonella. There is yet to be a national survey on the dangers of the meat and in the markets sanitation inspections rarely take place.FULL SYNOPSIS