ZAMBIA – The poultry industry has recorded a sharp drop in egg production of 26 percent while the broiler sub-sector fell by 4.8 percent during the economic trough experienced last year.

Speaking at the annual general meeting held last Friday, Poultry Association of Zambia president Rhodnie Sisala the broiler sector declined to 75 million in 2016 from 79 million in 2015.

Mr Sisala said in the eggs subsector, 1.99 million chicks were produced last year compared to 2.34 million in 2015.

“The total volumes of chickens and eggs sold on the Zambian market dropped and also the selling prices for poultry products dropped. This situation was mainly due to the eroded purchasing power of customers.

“Production costs like feed, fuel, equipment and other inputs went up,” he said.

Mr Sisala also bemoaned the mushrooming of unregulated fees and levies emerging in different district councils that are adding to the costs in the industry.

Commenting on avian influenza, he said poultry farmers are under intense threat due to the rate at which the disease is spreading.

He called for enforcement of high-level biosecurity and hygiene practices as a precautionary measure.

Responding to the concerns, Minister of Fisheries and Livestock Michael Katambo said during the period under review, Government worked hard to safeguard the industry and manage the costs of production, specifically making raw materials such as maize and soya beans available.

Mr Katambo said Government put in place strict export permits for maize and soya beans to ensure that the country has sufficient stocks for human, industrial and animal consumption.

“This policy direction, coupled with the strengthening of the Kwacha, should create an incentive for the stock feed millers to pass on the benefits to the other players in the poultry value chain,” he said.

He assured the farmers that the ministry will work round the clock to create a conducive business environment for the sustained growth of the poultry industry.

“A number of salient challenges have been highlighted to which the ministry will take keen interest and make sure that we dialogue to find lasting solutions,” he said.

July 29, 2017: Daily Mail