Poultry production shoots up by 35%

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CHIPA GONDITII

ZIMBABWE recorded a 35% increase in poultry meat production in 2018 despite rampant smuggling, businessdigest has learnt.

According to the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) annual report for 2018, poultry meat production increased to 1 44 000 metric tonnes from 106 000 metric tonnes in the same period the previous year.

Livestock and Meats Advisory Council (LMAC) economist Reneth Mano attributed the increase in chicken production to the containment of the avian influenza and the introduction of industry friendly regulations which promoted the importation of fertilised eggs. “The rise in chicken production benefitted immensely from the government policy response, the department of veterinary services in the Ministry of Agriculture managed to contain the influenza outbreak from spreading to other chicken houses and facilitated the restoration of an influenza-free status for Zimbabwe’s poultry sector,” Mano said.

“The Ministry of Finance also introduced new regulations specifically to provide a well-crafted import tax exemption facility on fertilised eggs from non-SADC countries which facilitated the import of supplimentary fertilised eggs that kept our hatcheries operating. This stabilised the domestic production adequate day-old chicks for the domestic poultry farmers.”

Mano said the country was losing a lot of revenue due to the importation of cheap offals and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) was playing an intergral role in enforcing the domestic ban on cheap poultry imports. “Zimbabwe was losing hundreds of millions of foreign currency through imports of poultry meat from South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and even the United States and Europe. These imports of second-grade chicken cuts destined for dogfood market was being literally dumped into the Zimbabwe consumer market at less than a dollar a kilogramme, indeed Brazil chicken became even cheaper for the urban consumer. Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) border authorities strengthened border controls to enforce the domestic ban on cheap poultry imports, thereby protecting the local sector.”

“Fortunately, government and poultry industry teamed up and took a long-term view to the domestic agribusiness sector recovery by re-introducing stringent border controls restricting imports of poultry meats in order to stimulate domestic production and achieve self-sufficiency,” he said.

The wholesale prices of poultry meat between January and September 2019 increased about 1% from $3,64/kg to $3,69/kg. Prices began to move significantly to $7,05 as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Illegal imports have traditionally been a problem for the sector given the high cost of production in Zimbabwe, which makes it an attractive destination for cheap poultry produced in the region and from large chicken-producing countries like Brazil. The relatively porous borders exacerbate the challenge. Imports of offals remain a challenge as smugglers appear able to land them at significant cost-advantage, notwithstanding the weakening of the Real-Time Gross Settlement balances.

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