Growing fast-foods sector boost for poultry farmers Free Range Poultry Association of Zimbabwe general worker Mr Charles Gonye attends to chickens at the Presidential Poultry Scheme launch for Matabeleland South in Diba village, Bulilima

Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter

THE rapid growth of the fast-food sector is a big boost in terms of creating a viable market for established and small-holder poultry farmers across the country.

Zimbabwe has recently seen massive investments in the food processing sector, with a strong downstream impact on poultry farming as well as livestock and horticulture.

Listed fast-food chain, Simbisa Brands, has already announced an expansion drive targeting the opening of more than 100 additional outlets this year, which will see demand for chicken increasing.

At the moment the group has said it needs about 150 000 birds per week and as it expands, the demand is set to further increase.

Simbisa Brands runs fast-food outlets including Chicken Inn, Baker’s Inn, Pizza Inn, Steers, and Nando’s among others.

File photo: Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Bradfield, Bulawayo

Recently, KFC spread its wings into the city centre in Bulawayo where it opened its new branch while several new players have also opened operations across the city and surrounding small towns in the region

In response to growing demand, poultry producer, Irvine’s Zimbabwe, is positioning itself for increased production capacity and has come up with a program to rope in more small-holder contract growers.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) Matabeleland North Provincial chairperson, Mr Winston Babbage, said the growing demand from the local market was good news for poultry farmers.

“As farmers’ representatives we encourage players in the poultry sector like Chicken Inn, KFC, and Chicken Slice and the new players in the fast-food sector to do out-grower schemes with organised farmers to produce products for this growing sector,” he said.

“Irvine’s project is good. However, it is mainly focused on Harare producers. We would encourage producers like Drummond, Big Brother, and Hamara to emulate Irvine’s.”

As part of supporting the growth of small-holder poultry producers, Mr Babbage said there was a need to urgently review urban council by-laws to allow households, especially vulnerable households, to produce chickens to complement production.

Smallholder farmers who do poultry in their backyards have also been experiencing a rise in demand for chickens, especially during festive holidays, which have also seen day-old chick suppliers failing to meet demand.

This has been witnessed by long queues, which are noticed a few weeks before the holidays, which have also resulted in suppliers giving buyers biased conditions that force them to buy feed from the same dealers.

The development has since been condemned by the Competition Tariffs Commission, which said such behaviour discourages competition and promotes poor-quality products. – @SikhulekelaniM1

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