The poultry sector has embarked on an aggressive restocking programme after the outbreak of avian influenza that hit Zimbabwe last year.
As a result of the avian influenza at one of the country’s biggest chicken breeders, Lanark Farm between May and August 2017, Zimbabwe was hit by a serious shortage of poultry products. To curb the acute shortage of poultry products, Government in September last year allowed the importation of hatching eggs from Europe.
According to a recent report released by the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council, pre-laying broiler breeder birds increased from 130 000 birds in September last year to 306 000 birds as at March 31, 2018.
During the period under review, the number of broiler breeder birds also rose to 574 000 birds although the figure was still 13 percent lower than the stocks before the outbreak of avian influenza.
In an interview with our Bureau yesterday, Zimbabwe Poultry Farmers’ Association (ZPFA) chairman Retired Colonel George Nare said avian influenza had been controlled in the country and poultry farmers have embarked on an aggressive restocking exercise.
“The situation is actually returning to normal as farmers have embarked on an aggressive restocking exercise.
“We no longer have shortage of chicken and eggs and we are just there to sort of further improve our operations and expand the poultry industry,” he said.
Rtd Col Nare said ZPFA hopes that as the production of maize in the country continue to improve annually, as this would also have a knock-on effect on lowering the price of stockfeed as the crop was a major ingredient in stockfeed production.
“Realising that last year we had a good harvest and this year again this will see a gradual reduction in the price of stockfeed.
“But we have observed that the price of day old chicks by the suppliers is still very high ranging at between $90 and $100 per 100 chicks and that makes our profit margins to be small,” he said.
Rtd Col Nare said if the price of day old chicks comes down to the previous levels of $65 and $70 before the outbreak of avian influenza poultry producers would be able to break even.
“The stockfeed if it goes down to around $26 per 50 kilogramme bag from an average of $32 per at present, we can be able to break even.
“At the moment because of high input cost, our profit margins are still very low such that it’s like living from hand-to-mouth as the proceeds don’t allow us to expand our operations,” said Rtd Col Nare.