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Chick Shortage Brings Call for Imports

by 5m Editor
27 July 2010, at 12:56a.m.

ZIMBABWE - Poultry breeders are unable to meet demand for day-old chicks and have asked the government to lift the import ban for hatching eggs.

Poultry producers have been allowed to import hatching chicken eggs in order to meet rising demand for chicken, reports The Zimbabwean.

At present producers were failing to meet demand at a time when government had banned imports of all poultry products.

Recently, the Zimbabwe Poultry Association lobbied the Government to ban poultry imports claiming that local producers had the capacity to meet national demand.

Hubbard marketing manager, Jorum Chamisa, said the company's supply of day-old chicks to agents in Bulawayo was erratic because it was failing to cope with demand.

He explained: "In the past weeks, our supply of day-old chicks to agents in Bulawayo has not been as per routine because we still do not have the capacity to supply the market with day-old chicks. That is the reason why there are queues at most of our agents in Bulawayo."

Mr Chamisa said since the ban of chicken imports by the government, the poultry sector had not been able to cope with demand.

He added: "Hubbard and other players that produce day-old chicks have approached the government to allow us import hatching eggs so that we are able to supply the market. The permits have already been issued for us to start importing hatching eggs."

An official from Irvine's Day Old Chicks said: "We are yet to fully increase our production levels to cope with local demand."

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Joseph Made, said Government had no objections to the demands of the poultry producers.

He said: "As for now, I wouldn't know if there are poultry producers that have been issued with special permits to import hatching eggs. We would be happy to hear that they are some farmers that are now importing hatching eggs to augment the shortfall in the country."

The Zimbabwean reports that in March, the Government banned poultry imports from South Africa and Botswana following an outbreak of Rift Valley Fever. The two countries were the major suppliers of chicken into the country, resulting in prices falling.