Zimbabwe’s poultry industry recorded a 19% slump in output, producing an average of 70 million day-old chicks last year with industry players citing escalating cost of stockfeed as well as reduction in demand and supply as the main contributing factors.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
A report compiled by the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (Lmac) indicates that in 2019, farmers produced an average of 70 million day-old chicks compared to 86 million produced in the previous year.
In 2017, production averaged 65 million while in 2016 it stood at 67 million.
“The year started off firmly but the impact of the cost of stockfeed caught up with the industry most noticeably in August and day-old chick production plummeted, recovering only marginally before dipping again in December to a low of four million chicks produced,” the report reads in part.
Dwindling stocks of maize coupled with restrictions on maize purchases from farmers brought about by the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 145 of 2019, are some of the challenges threatening the sector’s viability.
In its third quarter report, Lmac had indicated that without increases in consumer purchasing power, the margins from poultry production would be further eroded.
It said the reduced margins had already driven down the producer prices of both day-old chicks, broiler meat and table eggs to lower than prevailing prices in neighbouring countries in US dollar terms, prompting some breeders and farmers to explore export markets.
Lmac said depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar in the third quarter of 2019 continued to exert pressure on feed and day-old chick prices that were not matched by increases in consumer disposable incomes.