The bumper harvest recorded by Zimbabwe this year on the back of a successful cropping season is expected to drive increased poultry production.
A good harvest means improved availability and competitive pricing of stock feed, which is a major input for poultry farming.
Already, official estimates indicate the country’s poultry industry is projected to grow by five percent to 156 078 tonnes this year.
This will be a notable improvement considering that poultry output is said to have declined in 2020.
This was attributed to viability challenges emanating from high cost and low availability of stockfeeds, low demand as well as the disruptions in supply chains for breeding stock.
According to the Mid-Term Budget Review Statement presented by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, last week, day-old chick production decreased by 2,5 percent from 73,4 million in 2019 to 71,4 million last year.
This resulted in a drop in meat output by 2,45 percent.
“The poultry sector is expected to grow by five percent to 156 078 tonnes in 2021, supported by improved availability of stock feeds following an increase in production of maize and soyabeans,” said Prof Ncube.
“The progressive increase in female parent stock since the second quarter of 2020 also gives impetus for improved poultry production in 2021.”
Given the prominence of small-scale producers in poultry output (75 percent), interventions by the Inclusive Poultry Value Chain (IPVC) project to improve the productivity of the of the small-scale producers are expected to have a positive impact on poultry production this year.
Through the Department of Veterinary Services, the Government has also advised local poultry farmers to tighten bio-security and maintain proper disinfection to curb any potential spread of Avian Influenza into the country.
This follows concerns over the influx of smuggled poultry products into the country at a time when the region is facing Avian Influenza threats.
Zimbabwe has already put in place tight measures to curb any potential outbreak locally with veterinary experts urging farmers to also play their role.
The highly contagious viral disease has affected several species of food-producing birds such as chickens, turkeys, quails and guinea fowl, pet and wild birds.
In March this year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warned African countries of a highly pathogenic Avian Influenza following a spike in reports of detections of the bird flu in wild birds across Europe.
It is feared that the highest possible risk of introduction into Zimbabwe will be from migratory birds and illegal trade of live poultry products.
FAO has hinted that the disease has spread in Western Europe in countries such as The Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom.