Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
POULTRY producers have engaged the Government seeking another import duty extension waiver on hatching eggs from outside Sadc by an additional six months to March next year.
Through Statutory Instrument (SI) 245 of 2020, the Government has been able to suspend duty on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching by approved breeders.
Between October 2020 and March this year, duty was wholly suspended on fertilised eggs for hatching by approved breeders and the waiver was again extended from April to end of this month.
It is against this background that the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) is lobbying the Government to extend the waiver on hatching eggs import duty citing the shortage of day-old chicks in the local market.
According to the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC), members of ZPA held a meeting recently where it was resolved to lobby for the extension of the waiver on hatching eggs import duty.
“The meeting was well attended, and the main discussion centred on the shortage of day-old chicks and the escalating prices of poultry feed, which are seriously affecting the industry,” said LMAC in a latest update.
“Breeders have submitted their projections for the next six months to support a position paper requesting for an extension of the waiver of duty on imports of hatching eggs from outside the Sadc region. The paper is being finalised for submission to the Ministry of Finance.”
With the easing of the national local down against Covid-19, demand for day-old chicks, a major source of income for companies and Zimbabwe given that chickens are an integral element of the local people’s diet, demand is expected to rise sharply.
Before the introduction of SI 245 of 2020, poultry producers indicated that egg and day-old chick imports attracted 40 percent duty.
This, in effect increased the retail price for chicks and chickens as the end product, factoring in the cost of importing. It is hoped that with the bumper harvest Zimbabwe recorded this year on the back of a successful cropping season, the country would drive increased poultry production.
A good harvest means improved availability and competitive pricing of stockfeed, a major input in poultry farming.
Last year, day-old chick production decreased by 2,5 percent to 71,4 million from 73,4 million in 2019. This resulted in a drop in meat output by 2,5 percent.
The slump in day-old chicks’ output has, among other challenges, been attributed to escalating costs of stockfeed. Through the Inclusive Poultry Value Chain (IPVC), stakeholders in the poultry sector are hopeful that the project will have a positive impact on activities by the small-scale poultry producers.
“The IPVC is piloting the first and last mile egg distribution in Ward 2 and 4 of the Goromonzi district. To date, 12 farmer groups have been identified in the Show Ground area of Domboshava of which nine groups have since received the tricycles/Hambas,” said the organisation.
“Each group has a maximum of five egg producers. The solar powered tricycle will be used to ferry eggs to the consolidation centre and feed back home.
“The first and last mile egg distribution is going to improve access to both the input and output market for the egg producers,” said LMAC. — @okazunga.