ZIMBABWE – The poultry industry in Zimbabwe recorded a 19% decline in output during the first quarter of the year attributed to a decline in demand and supply in the sector.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) chairperson, Solomon Zawe, said that during the period under review, the sector witnessed high cost of feeds forecasting similar conditions in the second quarter.

“The first quarter of 2019 witnessed marked reduction in demand and supply due to the increases in cost of feed and reduced consumer buying power.

“These twin forces are expected to persist into the second quarter. Due to the drought, the country will have to depend on expensive imported soyabean meal and maize for the rest of the year,” Zawe said in an industry update.

According to a NewsDay report, broiler day-old chick production in the first quarter totalled to 19.5 million at an average of 6.5 million per month, 19% lower compared to the same period last year.

Zawe cited that breeding stocks continued to increase post-outbreak of Avian Influenza in May 2017 with broiler breeder stocks (growing and in-lay) averaging 730 753 birds per month, 41% up on the first quarter of last year.

He said hatching egg production from local broiler breeders averaged 7.5 million per month in the quarter, 36% higher than 2018 figures.

“Reliance on imported hatching eggs to meet demand for broiler day-old chicks continues to decline and in the first quarter of 2019 averaged 0.9 million per month, a reduction of 74% and 58% in the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2018, respectively.

“Large-scale meat production in the first quarter declined by 11% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018, whereas small-scale production is estimated to have declined by 22%.

In the face of rising costs, wholesale prices in the first quarter remained similar to fourth quarter of 2018,” Zawe said.

He further highlighted that that production of layer hatching eggs averaged 840 590 per month, 7% down on fourth quarter of 2018, but 146% higher than the same period last year.

Total layer breeder stocks (growing and in-lay) averaged 71 108 birds per month in the period under review while total broiler meat production was estimated at 10 203 tonnes per month, 9% lower than the same period in 2018.