BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE country’s poultry industry recorded a 20% jump in output in the first quarter of this year, producing 20,4 million day-old chicks, the second highest performance after the first quarter of 2018, a new report said on Friday.
Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) chairman Solomon Zawe revealed in an industry update that broiler day-old chicks averaged 6,8 million per month during the period, being 20% higher compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
He said chick prices increased from $8 216 (about US$74,40) per 100 in January to $10 195 (US$90,90) in March.
“Despite the improvement of broiler breeder stocks and production of hatching eggs and day-old chicks, demand for chicks remained strong with reports of unmet orders for chicks in the first quarter,” Zawe said.
“This was in partly due to exhaustion of the duty-free hatching egg import quotas under SI 245 of 2020. At the end of the first quarter, by means of Statutory Instrument 100 of 2021, the government granted an extension of duty free imports which is expected to alleviate day-old chick supply challenges.”
The ZPA boss said heavy rains experienced in the past summer led to increased disease outbreaks for the beef sector, further compounding the low supply situation caused by two years of drought.
“The anticipated improved supply of local maize together with the tight supply of beef is expected to stimulate demand for broiler meat. Consequently, demand for broiler day-old chicks is projected to remain firm,” he said.
Zawe was concerned about several outbreaks of the highly contagious Avian Influenza in the northern regions of South Africa.
“Avian Influenza in Europe coupled with breeding stock destocking due to Covid-19 have reduced availability of supplies of breeder stock which is likely to hinder speedy recovery and growth of local breeding and production capacity,” he said.
The report showed that broiler growing and in-production breeding stocks remain firm and averaged 762 125 birds per month during the period, being 15% up compared to the same period last year.
Local production of hatching eggs averaged 8,1 million per month while imports of hatching eggs averaged 0,5 million per month, being 50% higher than the first quarter of 2020.
Total meat production in the period under review was estimated to have linearly increased from 9 177mt in January to 12 008mt in March.
On average, first quarter producer prices and wholesale prices increased 8% and 16% over the fourth quarter of 2020.
Zawe said total growing and in-production layer breeder stocks averaged 77 470 birds per month in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 32% compared with the first quarter of last year.
He said layer breeder in-production stocks climbed dramatically, peaking at a new high of 59 240 birds in March.
Production of layer hatching eggs averaged 898 313 eggs per month, up 1% compared with the same period last year.
Total layer hatching eggs, augmented by imports, set a new high of 1,3 million eggs in March while layer day-old chicks averaged 265 406 per month.
The average price of layer day-old chicks rose by 27% (22% in US dollar terms) to $12 500 (US dollar 110) per 100 chicks in the first quarter.