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Poultry sector sends SOS to govt

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THE poultry industry is faced with chick and egg shortages as one of the big breeders has been hit with bird flu, and the sector was requesting assistance from the government.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA/MTHANDAZO NYONI

Culling of broiler parent stocks has led to a shortage of day old chicks
Culling of broiler parent stocks has led to a shortage of day old chicks

Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) chairperson, Solomon Zawe said the government has to support the industry by removing duty on raw materials imported. He said the industry was short of chicks and eggs because one of the big breeders has been affected.

“The region again has been affected we have been importing so many hatching eggs to supplement our industry, but the region has no capacity to supply us hatching eggs.
Policymakers, we need to import chick hatching eggs all the way from Europe and there is a 40% duty that is taking us years just to waive so that we import as a raw material,” Zawe said at the agricultural breakfast meeting themed Consolidating the New Normal Economy through Policy Reforms.

Zawe said industry wanted to be involved in price making decisions for the sector, which was a price taker.

“We are just [price] takers and we need to be involved in price decisions. The poultry industry is comprised of 65% small-holder farmers, who do most of the work,” he said.

Zawe said chicken prices in Zimbabwe increased by 11% to $3,19 per kilogramme in the first half of the year, following the outbreak of avian influenza which slowed down production.

In an industry update, Zawe revealed that avian influenza, which hit Zimbabwe and other countries in the Sadc region, has had negative effects in the poultry industry.

“The number of birds processed and broiler meat production in the large-scale formal sector in the first half of 2017 was 2% and 8% lower respectively than the same period in 2016. This is reflected in whole bird wholesale prices having risen by 11% from an average of $2,88/kg in the first half of 2016 to $3,19/kg in the first half of 2017,” Zawe said.

He said small-scale broiler meat production was estimated to have declined by 5% in the first half of 2017 relative to the same period in 2016. Together with the 8% decline noted for the large-scale sector, Zawe said this resulted in first half total broiler meat production being 6% lower than during the same period of 2016.

Monthly average broiler meat production during the first half of 2017 was 8,823mt.

“Culling of broiler parent stocks on the affected breeder farm has led to a reduction in the availability of broiler day old chicks of nearly 500 000 per week,” he said.

Zimbabwe was hit by two outbreaks of the highly pathogenic bird flu in May and July at Lanark Farm — which is owned by the biggest chicken breeder in the country Irvine’s — about 25 kilometres south of Harare.

As a result, more than 200 000 broiler parent stock were destroyed at the farm.

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