Zimbabwe hit by shortage of poultry feed caused by scarcity of maize

ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is facing shortage of stockfeed in the market brought by limited supply of maize, a major raw material in production of feeds.

According to reports by NewsDay, poultry farmers are moving from one supplier to another in search for the major input for their business.

The feeds have become such a rare commodity with most stores running low on stocks and others going even weeks without broiler concentrate or layers mash.

With the inconsistency in supply, farmers have resort to make do with whatever brand and closest variety they find on the day, a situation which affects their yields, especially, for layer poultry farmers.

Maize is also used for producing maize meal, the country’s staple. Due to the equally high demands of the grain for human consumption, it has created an unhealthy competition.

The shortage has further led to the increase in price of maize meal which went up by almost 10% between November and December 2020.

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Zimbabwe is expected to surpass the targeted 1.5 million hectares put under maize production

Despite the current shortage, grain supplies are expected to improve as according to Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Dr John Basera, farmers have planted 1.4 million hectares of maize, representing a 137 percent rise in the area planted compared to the same period last year.

The area under production is expected to surpass the targeted 1.5 million hectares as farmers are still encouraged to plant short season varieties. Last year, farmers had planted 612, 406 hectares of maize by now.

He attributed the development to early inputs distribution especially under the Presidential Inputs programmes, training of farmers, empowerment and capacitation of extension workers and robust monitoring and evaluation as dictated by the Agricultural Recovery Plan.

“The increase in the area under maize is a result of good rains, and the early inputs distribution. We distributed 100 percent seeds under government support programmes and we are almost 80 percent on distribution of fertilizer. The ministry will expedite top dressing distribution,” he said.

Capacitation of extension staff through increased mobility and appropriate training for effective technical backstopping and coaching of farmers in light of good agricultural practices has also helped to boost production.

The government is also investing in personal protective equipment (PPEs) for extension workers.

In a bid to facilitate efficient data collection, the ministry is procuring digital gadgets such as tablets. The data will be used for Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS).

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