Food shortages threaten poultry industry

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PLAYERS in the poultry industry have expressed concern over the long-term supply of maize and soya through the 2017 harvest citing it as a threat to their viability.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

poultry

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing an El Niño-stimulated dry spell, characterised by extremely hot and dry weather conditions, which has left people and livestock in Matabeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces in dire straits.

According to the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, the country is heading for a maize crop failure due to erratic rains caused by El Nino.

The country, which requires two million tonnes of maize annually, but usually produces just above 1,2 million tonnes, is currently grappling with a food deficit and people in rural areas have started suffering from hunger.

The national deficit of 700 000 tonnes of maize is being addressed through the importation of grain from a number of countries by both the government and the private sector.

In an update, the Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson Solomon Zawe said the delays in the importation of maize were a threat to their viability.

“Industry representatives have expressed concerns regarding the long-term supply of maize and soya through to the 2017 harvest and are engaging all stakeholders, including Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, to deliberate on strategies to sustain the livestock sector,” Zawe said in an industry update.

In January, grain millers were up in arms with government over the delay in issuing out import licences.

Zawe said demand for layer producers was very low and competition was stiff.

He said the producer price for broilers was ranging between $1,85 to $1,9 per kg while wholesale prices were between $2,50 to $2,80/kg.

He said the table egg market was depressed.

Zawe said the demand for poultry products peaked up during December last year and early January.

“Imports appear to have declined from the end of November right through the festive season.

Despite this, local demand is showing signs of slowing down due to other factors, among them, reduced buying power,” he said.

Zawe also said production of poultry feeds in 2015 averaged 30 608 metric tonnes per month, an increase of 10% over 2014 and accounted for 69% of all feeds produced by weight and 76% by monetary value.

He said production of broiler grower, layer rearing and layer production feeds increased by 33%, 55% and 15%, respectively, while broiler starter, broiler finisher and breeder feeds changed 0%, 4% and -14%, compared to 2014.

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