Sunday Mail Reporter
SMALL-SCALE poultry production has increased significantly since the beginning of the year as families turned to chicken rearing to supplement incomes during Covid-19 -induced lockdown, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Speaking after touring chicken and egg producer, Irvine’s Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday, Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the rise in production feeds into the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy.
“Since the advent of Covid-19, many people have been staying at home where they have taken up income-generating businesses and as a result demand for and the production of chickens has shot up,” said Dr Masuka.
“Covid-19 has induced opportunities for localisation of production and we have seen an upsurge in demand for a number of products inclusive of poultry.
“It is something that we are excited about and we think that it should be sustained.
“However, we need to look at the whole value chain. In this regard we are looking at increased production of grains so that they can feed into this system.
“It is something that the Ministry is going to be working on together with Irvine’s.”
Irvine’s Zimbabwe chief executive Mr David Irvine said production at Irvine’s had seen a 30 percent increase in the last 12 months.
“We need to meet that market demand immediately and we are going to invest into that”.
Mr Irvine said the poultry industry was set for further growth, with rural areas now a top producer of chickens.
“There is a bright future for the poultry industry. We are providing half a million chicks a week into the kumushas (rural areas) and these people are making a living, paying school fees and buying clothes for themselves off the chicken production.
“From the kumushas they are probably producing 800 tonnes of meat from our chicks and that is very big,” he said.
The Minister toured Irvine’s staff accommodation at Derbyshire as well as the chicken and egg processing plant.
The tour was part of the Minister’s familiarisation meetings with strategic agro-industry players.