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New Poultry Feed Supplier in Zimbabwe

by 5m Editor
11 May 2009, at 8:43am

ZIMBABWE - Windmill (Private) Ltd has started production of poultry feeds.

Windmill (Private) Limited has shelled an estimated US$60 000 in a feed plant that will herald the company's entrance into poultry feed production, reports Sunday Mail of Zimbabwe.

The company is a renowned fertiliser producer and is critically using its leverage to source raw materials from farmers.

According to the company's sales manager for animal health, Tichaona Revesai, the business will initially target small-scale poultry producers and gradually ramp up production in order to cater for large-scale producers.

"We are mainly targeting small to medium-scale poultry producers but we have the capacity, expertise and land to compete with the big producers.

"Our poultry feeds have been tested at the University of Zimbabwe and have shown that it takes an average of six weeks for the birds to reach an average of 1.8 kg.

"Initially, we will produce 100 tonnes in phases of 30 tonnes. However, we have the capacity to produce up to 500 tonnes per month," said Mr Revesai.

Performance tests at the University have revealed that the market live weight at six weeks reached an average 1.8 kg, with the highest weight recorded at 2.2 kg. The feed conversion ratio – the kilogrammes that are consumed to produce one kilogramme live weight gain – topped 1.59.

Feeds form the largest input cost in broiler production and ultimately impact on the price of chickens on the market. Recently the market raised reservations about the price of local chickens relative to regional and international imports.

Mr Revesai explained: "Since we are now using the multi-currency system, prices must be at par with import parity prices. Raw materials used to be expensive, for example, maize on the local market was fetching between US$300 and US$350 per tonne, while in South Africa it was averaging US$180 per tonne.

"But prices are beginning to moderate. It is critical to ensure that chickens do not exceed the six weeks because it will become very expensive. Furthermore, beyond that time, the birds will not add any meaningful weight.

"So, it is imperative to have quality and affordable feeds to guarantee competitive prices."

Windmill is also engaging in mutually beneficial trading deals with farmers in which the company barters fertiliser in exchange for maize and soy beans.

In addition, toll manufacturing is being done for customers that have maize and soy meal. Windmill is currently producing broiler starter and broiler finisher pre-mixes. The entrance of the new player on the market is expected to increase competition and bring sanity to pricing of commodities.

"Competition is healthy for local poultry producers because it helps in giving farmers options and fair prices.

"The influx of commodities, especially from South Africa, has exposed many industries and now they have no option but to rationalise their prices in order to compete," explained one exhibitor at the recently ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

Regional trade blocs such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) are working towards easing trading among member states, a development that is widely expected to heighten competition.

Government has already called for local businesses to adapt and charge competitive prices. Raw material producers are being challenged to lower their costs to rationalise production costs, concludes the Sunday Mail article.