BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
ZIMBABWE’S poultry industry recorded a 6% slump in output, producing 21 million day-old chicks in the second quarter of the year due to increasing production costs, an official has said.
Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) chairperson, Solomon Zawe said in the second quarter to June this year, broiler day-old chick production averaged seven million per month, being 6% lower than the same period last year, but 8% higher than in the first quarter of 2019.
He said chick production of 6,7 million per month for the period January to June 2019 was the next highest performance after the phenomenal production figures
of 7,3 million per month for the same period in 2018.
However, chick prices rose steeply in the second quarter of 2019 and reached $2,94 per chick in June.
“Depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar in the second quarter of 2019 continued to exert pressure on stockfeed and day-old chick prices in
the face of stagnant disposable incomes. However, demand remained strong largely due to greater increases in prices of alternative livestock proteins primarily
beef, pork and fish,” Zawe said.
“Dwindling stocks of maize coupled with restrictions on maize purchases from farmers brought about by the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019
implies the feed sector will need to import maize which will land in the country at 36% higher than the current producer price,” he said.
With limited consumer purchasing power, the ZPA boss said this would further erode the margins from poultry production during the third quarter.
“In US dollar terms, producer prices of day-old chicks, broiler meat and table eggs have already declined to less than prevailing prices in neighbouring
countries, prompting some breeders and farmers to explore export markets,” he said.
Estimated total broiler meat production increased by 8% in the second quarter of 2019, due to an estimated 13% increase in small-holder production, averaging
11 042 tonnes per month, Zawe said.
He added that wholesale prices rose steeply in second quarter, particularly in May and June reflecting the local currency devaluation. Wholesale prices of
whole bird and 2kg individually quick frozen pieces in June were $15,45 and $19,90, respectively.
The country’s poultry industry, which appeared to be on a recovery path following challenges posed by the outbreak of the Avian Influenza in 2017, is currently facing viability challenges.
Poultry farmers revealed that the cost of feed, chicks and vaccines was now beyond the reach of many farmers.
For instance, the cost of producing 100 broiler chickens, according to a basic feed plan from Novatek Animal Feeds Zimbabwe, can run up to $1 999 excluding
labour, bedding, medications, heating, water and electricity expenses.