AN aggressive restocking of breeder birds by the poultry industry since the outbreak of Avian Influenza (AI) last year has seen an increase of pre-laying broiler breeder birds from 130 000 in September 2017 to 306 000 in March 2018.
As a result, there is an increase in the number of broiler breeder birds to 574 000 in March 2018. However, this is still 13 percent lower than the stocks before the outbreak of AI.
Following the outbreak in May 2017, the national total stock of broiler breeders declined from 660 000 birds in April to
490 000 in June.
The Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPPA) May Update Report indicates that the country will have to continue importing hatching eggs until the end of the year despite improvements in the poultry sector.
“Projections are that local production of hatching eggs will remain depressed until the last quarter of 2018, necessitating the continued high dependence on imported hatching eggs to satisfy demand for day-old chicks from local poultry farmers,” the report said.
Local production of hatching eggs declined 7,4 million in December 2017 to 5,5 million in March 2018 while hatching egg imports increased from 1,35 million in November 2017 to five million in March 2018.
Production of day-old chicks has remained firm and averaged 7,1 million in the first quarter of 2018, representing an increase of 32 percent on the same period in 2017.
“Broiler meat production, which had declined to a monthly average of 7,6 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2017, has recovered strongly since then. The recovery has continued into the first quarter of 2018. The monthly average production of 11,2 million tonnes of broiler meat during the first quarter of 2018 was 37 percent more than the average production in the first quarter of 2017. Large-scale broiler meat production peaked at a new high of 4,4 million tonnes in March 2018,” ZPA said.
Increased broiler meat supply in the first quarter of 2018 has led to significant stock build-up and wholesale prices are expected to remain depressed.
“Persistent Avian Flu outbreaks in South Africa and an expected post-harvest increase in demand for day-old chicks in Zambia will limit supply of imported hatching eggs to Zimbabwe. This will increase reliance on non-Southern African Development Community imports of hatching eggs until the end of the year when local production is expected to recover to pre-Avian Flu levels. Day old chicks prices are likely to remain high,” ZPA further noted.
Day old chicks prices per 100 increased to $97 from $66 last year.

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