THE layer chicken industry in Zimbabwe remained turbulent in the first nine months of 2016 on the back of a very soft table egg market, an industry official has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In an industry update, Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson, Solomon Zawe revealed that in the first nine months of 2016, breeding chick sales and retentions, growing and in-production stocks declined by 60%, 5% and 7%, respectively.
“Although local hatching egg production increased by 15%, there was a sharp decline of 90% in imports, resulting in a decline of 20% of total hatching egg set in hatcheries,” he said.
“Thus, sexed pullet sales and retentions declined by 38%. However, despite the reduced supply, the price of sexed pullets has remained low and static over the period March to September, averaging $115 per 100 chicks.”
Zawe said production of table eggs in the large-scale sector continues to recover from the lows of mid-2015.
He said the number of birds in production increased by 19% from 774 992 in November 2015 to 920 400 in May 2016, which “reflects an increase in table egg production from 1,7 million dozen per month to 1,9 million dozen”
Zawe, however, noted that numbers of growing stock in the first nine months of 2016 were 17% lower than the same period in 2015.
“The average wholesale price of a tray of eggs remains depressed at $3,21, which is 19% lower than the price obtained in 2015,” he said.
“Inclusive of informal production sector, estimated total egg production is projected to be in decline from the peak of five million dozen achieved in June, primarily due to the dramatic downturn of layer chick sales into the smallholder sector.”
Zawe said total hatching eggs per month over the period January to September 2016 declined by 6%, as compared to the same period last year.
Local production of hatching eggs increased by 10%, while imported eggs decreased by 44%, he said.
Zawe also noted that producer and wholesale prices remain soft and, apart from breast meat and leg quarters, declined by 10% compared to last year.
Total broiler meat production, inclusive of informal production (estimates based on day-old chick sales) in the first nine months of the year, is estimated at 9 822 metric tonnes per month, being 1,3% lower than the same than the same period last year, he said.