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Zimbabwean Farmers to Import Feed

by 5m Editor
29 July 2008, at 6:21am

ZIMBABWE - Members of the Zimbabwe Poultry Farmers' Association (ZPPA) are being encouraged to import feed from Botswana and South Africa to ensure their industry's viability.

According to Mmegi Online, ZPPA Chairman, George Nare, said high prices of feed on the local market are causing viability problems for Zimbabwean poultry producers. In addition to high feed prices, Mr Nare said members of his association were grappling with shortages of drugs and vaccines.

"Under the circumstances, importing poultry feed from Botswana and South Africa is the best option because our farmers cannot afford local prices," Mr Nare said.

"More farmers are resorting to this option. It is becoming increasingly difficult to run a poultry business because of the high prices of feed as well as drugs. But we are telling our members that it is cheaper to import feed from Botswana or South Africa."

Mr Nare said the bulk of the association's members are new farmers who have been in the business for about five years. Local feed producers and middlemen are selling a 50-kilogramme bag of chicken feed for an average Z$4.5 trillion.

Others are charging 280 in South African rand, 250 in Botswana pula or between US$50 and US$70 for a 50kg bag. Local producers have defended their high prices, saying their own production costs are rising as the economic climate continues to deteriorate: to ensure their own survival, they are pushing whatever costs they incur to farmers.

Mr Nare said scores of chicken farmers are quitting because of the difficult economic climate in which inflation is galloping at more than 2.2 million percent in the midst of shortages of fuel and foreign currency.

He warned of the worsening viability problems in which farmers either quit or downsize could result in a national shortage of chicken and chicken products in the next month or so.

"Farmers cannot survive if prices continue rising like this," said Mr Nare.

"Business was fine over the past four years or so but the viability constraints have changed the situation now."

5m Editor