Solomon Zawe, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Poultry Association, expressed optimism about continuing growth through the second half of the year as well. “The market is looking good. We are quite happy with the fact that the government will import maize from Zambia and that will reduce our production costs in the sense that maize would be cheaper.” He added that the industry was aiming to produce more than 70mn day-old chicks this year, compared to about 60mn day-old chicks produced last year.
Zawe also pointed to some macroeconomic concerns, saying that the industry was projecting a slower 10 to 15 per cent growth in the second half of the year due to a liquidity crisis and the country’s dormant economy.
Zimbabwe has a combined hatching capacity of 76mn day-old chicks per annum but over the years, cheap imported chickens have flooded the local market, edging out local producers. Most imports come from South Africa and Brazil. To protect the indigenous producers of chickens, the government had imposed an import duty on chickens in 2012, but it has had little effect on imports whose quantity remains quite high.
The poultry industry in Zimbabwe has transformed from being predominated by large, high-tech operations to including a large number of small production units now. This segment, including indigenous producers in communal areas and in urban backyards, is driving the new poultry industry in the country.