ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe reported in early May that its poultry industry had grown by 22 per cent during the first quarter period of 2015.
The Southern African country produced 17 million day-old chicks during the period under review, said Solomon Zawe, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Poultry Association.
However, a fast-declining economy could put a check on this growth in the second quarter.
Zimbabwe’s economy, which has sunk into deflation, is battling a cash crunch that has eroded disposable incomes for the country’s mostly unemployed population.
“The poultry industry was booming in the first quarter of 2015 as we produced about 17 million day-old chicks. We are happy with the fact the government is importing maize from Zambia, as this will reduce our production costs in relation to feed,” Solomon Zawe said.
In 2014, Zimbabwe produced 60 million chicks, with the government banning imports of poultry products to promote the growth of the local industry.
Zawe said that in 2015, it’s likely the country will produce 70 million chicks to be taken up for growth by local producers. These producers include backyard growers in both urban and rural areas.
Executives at Irvines, the biggest producer, say they are maintaining a long-term positive view of the industry.
These advances are echoed in east Africa, where an estimated 200 chicken farmers in Kenya’s Siyaya area have received 1,600 chicks from the Department of Agriculture, in a bid to promote growth in the industry.
Country coordinator for the Agricultural Sector Development Programme, Rosemary Raluoch, said: "Farmers have been practising old methods in poultry farming. Gone are the days when people lived with chickens under the same roof."
Meanwhile, the 10-nation Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) is calling for governments in the region to restore subsidies on raw materials, such as feed for poultry and other livestock.
In a report, the EAFF said governments should provide adequate budgetary measures to support the industry.