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Zimbabwe Govt Called on to Ban Poultry Imports

by 5m Editor
29 March 2010, at 10:17a.m.

ZIMBABWE - Farmers are urging the government to ban imports of poultrymeat.

Local farmers want Government to suspend importation of chickens for three months because they have built up large stocks they are failing to sell because of competition from imports, reports The Herald of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairman, George Nare, said farmers had 1,400 tonnes of frozen poultry in stock because South African and South American imports had priced them out of the market.

He said farmers were now being forced to rent storage space for their poultry. According to the association, monthly production of broiler day-old chicks stood at 2.5 million, surpassing average historic production figures of 2.3 million between 2002 and 2007.

Mr Nare said: "This implies the poultry industry currently has the capacity to produce plus or minus 3,000 tonnes of poultry meat per month. This production is enough to sustain the local poultry meat demands."

He recommended removing the value-added tax on day-old chicks, duties on breeding stock and feed additives, saying they contributed to the higher price of local chickens compared to imports.

It is also alleged that South African and South American poultry are heavily injected with a brine saltwater solution to levels as high as 40 per cent. Local regulations are ofor a maximum of 15 per cent brine. The brine solution increases bird weight when frozen. However, the solution seeps out before and during cooking leaving the actual meat content at 60 to 70 per cent of the original weight.

Mr Nare added: "The main aim of brining chicken is to improve its flavour but business people and processors of imported chicken are now using it to maximise their profits by putting on artificial weight on frozen chickens."

This, he said, means local chickens are better value for money. He called on the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe to educate people to make informed decisions when buying chickens.

The Herald reports that last week, the government refused the livestock industry permission to import genetically modified (GM) cereals for stock feed, saying they could compromise the quality of export meat.