THE poultry industry appears to be on the rebound following challenges posed by the outbreak of the Avian Influenza.
A report last week said the disease reduced to critical levels the supply of day-old chicks and caused a huge shortage of broiler meat and table eggs.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Zimbabwe was hit by two outbreaks of the highly pathogenic bird flu in May and July at Lanark Farm, which is owned by the biggest chicken breeder in the country, Irvine’s — about 25 km south of Harare.
As a result, the farm was quarantined under veterinary supervision following complete depopulation of affected poultry sites by June 1 2017. Altogether, 180 000 broiler parent stock in the affected sites were destroyed.
The second outbreak occurred on July 24 at another site on the farm housing 83 000 layer birds and these were also culled.
According to the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) survey report, the sector was now showing signs of recovery following government’s intervention to suspend the duty that was applied to imports of hatching eggs from countries outside the Sadc region in August.
The survey shows that broiler hatching egg production by poultry breeders had increased from a low of 4,2 million in July to 5,9 million in August.
Over the same period, broiler hatching egg imports increased from 1,2 million to 2 million. Thus, the total hatching eggs handled by local hatcheries increased from 5,4 million in July to 7,9 million in August.
However, ZPA survey noted that chick prices steadily increased from an average of $65 per 100 chicks in the period January to May, to $70 per 100 chicks in June, $72 in July and $79 in August.
“The increase in chick prices reflects the fact that, in order to supplement shortages of locally-produced chicks, Zimbabwe has had to import hatching eggs from countries as far away as Europe. This, together with the high cost of obtaining foreign currency, has led to the increase in the cost of producing broiler day-old chicks,” it said.
The ZPA estimated that total meat production dropped from a monthly average of 8,819 tonnes between January and June to 6 500 tonnes in July and 6,155 tonnes in August.