BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMBABWE is likely to experience an upsurge in both legal and illegal imports of cheap poultry products this year due to an increase in costs of production, an industry official has said.
In his latest industry update, Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairman, Solomon Zawe said industry feared an increase in grey imports.
“Statistics show limited importation of poultry products although reports of suspected illicit chicken offal imports have been filed by industry participants,” Zawe said.
“However, going forward there is likely to be an upsurge in legal and illegal imports of cheap poultry products as the industry starts to see impacts of increased costs of production and reduced purchasing power of consumers . . . ,” he said.
Zawe said shortages of foreign currency as well as the poor rainy season would likely maintain pressure on feed raw material costs, forcing farmers to maintain high producer prices.
“This is expected to translate into reduced demand for poultry products. Thus, after the traditional festive season rise in demand, the first half of 2019 is likely to witness a slowdown,” he said.
Zawe said the prices of most raw materials procured in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased significantly compared to prices in the third quarter.
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While price changes of maize were negligible, Zawe said prices of all other raw materials increased substantially, including local milling by-products.
On average, prices of feeds in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased by 49% compared to the third quarter prices.
Zawe said as a result of shortages of key raw materials such as maize and wheat brans, as well as foreign currency-induced shortages in imported soya meal, minerals and vitamins, many producers have had to switch from on-farm feed mixing to reliance on compound feeds from stockfeed manufacturers, creating an increase in demand.