BY MELODY CHIKONO
PRICES of chicken products are set to spike in the coming month, as the government is yet to renew a piece of legislation that suspended import duty on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching.
Statutory Instrument 245 of 2020 instituted in October suspended duty on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching imported by approved poultry breeders.
“Duty is wholly suspended on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching of tariff code 0407.11.00 imported by approved poultry breeders, with effect from October 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 (for a period of six months), in the quantities listed ,” the SI reads.
The suspension of duty ends at the end of this month and the government has not announced an intention to extend the reprieve.
Some companies that benefitted from the suspension include Irvines, Huku Chicks, Sondelani Ranching, Kudu Creek Farm, Supachick, Zim Avian, Doctors Henn Investments and Chinyika Day Old Chicks.
Each company was given a ring-fenced quota.
Should the government not extend the lenience, poultry products are expected to attract a 40% duty starting April 1, raising fears that prices of chicken, the most commonly accessed source of protein by most Zimbabweans, could rise to levels the poor majority cannot afford.
This comes as the cost of procuring raw materials for manufacturing stockfeed rocketed by 886% in 2020 after maize prices rose threefold during the same period.
According to the Stockfeed Manufacturers Association (SMA), poultry feeds continued to dominate the stockfeed industry, accounting for 68% of all feeds produced by weight and 75% by monetary value in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Production averaged 37 328mt per month, while the production of broiler and layer feeds were 33% and 22% higher than the fourth quarter of 2019, respectively.
However, poultry concentrates were 23% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019.