Poultry sector seeks moratorium on egg imports

POULTRY players have approached the government asking for the suspension of the 40% import duty on fertilised eggs to bridge the supply gap of day-old chicks created by the outbreak of avian influenza last year.


In October last year, the government announced new regulations under Statutory Instrument 124 of 2017 suspending duty on fertilised egg importers to maintain the availability of both poultry and eggs on the market.

The suspension, ran for six months from August 1, 2017, and expired on January 31, 2018.

But industry players felt there was still need for the moratorium to be extended to allow the sector to fully recover.

In an industry update, Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairman, Solomon Zawe said they have since submitted a position paper to government for the renewal of the Statutory Instrument 124 of 2017.

“SI 124 of 2017, which was gazetted to allow duty free importation of hatching eggs to bridge the supply gap of day-old chicks created by the outbreak of avian influenza expired on January 31 2018,” he said.

“Due to the continued day-old-chick deficit and slow recovery of local breeding capacity, the association has submitted a position paper for the renewal of the SI.”

Zawe said local production of hatching eggs declined by 35% from a peak of 7,1 million in May to 4,6 million in July 2017 and had recovered to 7,4 million in December.

He said imports of hatching eggs between the period January to July last year, which averaged one million per month, increased to two million per month for the period August to December.

Total hatching egg imports over the period was 10,1 million, equating to 460 000 eggs per week.

“This contrasts with the ring-fenced duty-free allocation of 852 000 hatching eggs per week. Total hatching eggs declined by 31% from a peak of 8,5 million in May to 5,9 million in July and recovered to a new peak of 9,5 million in December,” he said.

Zawe said total production of hatching eggs in 2017 was 68,9 million, being 8% lower than 2016.

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