Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Poultry Farmers’ Association (ZPFA) says the country is likely to face a poultry shortage during the festive season although the supply of day old chicks is showing some signs of stability.
Zimbabwe’s largest poultry breeder, Irvine’s Lanark Farm near Harare, was in May and July hit by two outbreaks of bird flu known as Avian Influenza resulting in a shortage of poultry products on the market.
As part of efforts to contain the highly pathogenic disease, about 215 000 birds were culled and Zimbabwe also imposed import duty on fertilised poultry eggs.
However, the Government last month listed six poultry importers exempt from paying duty on fertilized poultry eggs for six months to revive poultry production.
In an interview yesterday, ZPFA chairman Retired Colonel George Nare said their ability to meet local demand would be largely affected by the upcoming festive season although the sector was showing some signs of recovery.
“Although there are indicators of some stability with regards to poultry production, the situation still remains gloomy especially on the coming festive season.
“We don’t see ourselves being able to meet local demand especially during the festive season,” he said.
Rtd Col Nare said as a result of the poultry shortage on the market, day old chicks were being sold up to $110 per 100 chicks from between $65 and $70 before the outbreak of the bird flu.
“We can only talk of full stability in the supply of poultry products after six months from the day import duty on fertilised eggs was suspended,” he said.
Rtd Col Nare said although they welcomed the lifting of the suspension, his association felt the suspension should have been extended for at least 12 months because six months was too short to promote survival of the sector.
Since 2009, the country’s poultry sector has been on a rebound with day old chicks’ production having risen to about 70 million last year largely due to tariff restriction on the importation of poultry products the Government introduced.
Under normal conditions, the country has a combined hatching capacity of 76 million day-old chicks annually. — @okazunga.