ZIMBABWEANS are currently consuming nine kilogrammes of chicken meat per individual each year as the poultry producers grapple to meet the demand following breeders’ destocking due to the Covid-19 induced business inactivity, The Manica Post has learnt.
Compared to the 5kgs of beef being consumed per capita in the country, chicken meat consumption has been on a steady increase, with projections of a significant rise that corresponds with individual disposable income in the near future.
In an interview, the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) executive officer in the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council, Dr Reneth Mano said the country’s economic growth which cascades into more individual disposable income has seen a steady rise in the demand for meat products, especially chicken.
He said upper middle class economies such as South Africa have a high chicken meat consumption statistics of 42kgs per capita each year and Zimbabwe is projected to witness a significant increase of up to 32kgs chicken meat consumption per capita as the country moves towards the middle class economy.
“What is happening is that we were almost self sufficient in terms of hatching or fertilised eggs production from our breeder farms where the imported breeder hens produce the fertilised egg that then produces the day-old chicks.
“However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown measures, our breeder farms were unable to access breeder chickens and this has had a telling effect on the production of day-old chicks.
“Zimbabwe is currently consuming 9kgs of chicken meat per individual each year. This is projected to significantly increase in the near future because of the economic growth that would give more disposable income to citizens.
“South Africa, for example, have a high chicken meat consumption statistics of 42kgs per capita each year and Zimbabwe is projected to witness a significant increase of up to 32kgs chicken meat consumption per capita as the country moves towards the middle class economy,” he said
Dr Mano noted that 40 percent of breeder hens were destocked as a result of Covid-19 lockdown business disruptions.
“Destocking of breeder stock happened all over the world. Breeders culled about 40 percent of their breeder hen stock simply because when the fertilised egg is hatched the chick has to be sold as a day-old, but with the absence of the market they had no option, but to kill 40 percent of the breeder hens,” he said.
Dr Mano said Government has been instrumental in giving the poultry producing industry a fallback position in light of the production disruptions caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
He said through Government assistance, a 34 percent increase in production has been realised.
“The good thing is that Government, through the responsible line ministries, has been cooperative and very helpful to shield this industry. From the analysis done, it would take 18 to 24 months to cover for the disruption and get back to normal supply. The 24 months will last until next year around March or April.
“End of September marks the end of the duty reprieve period for duty free import of breeder hens and fertilised eggs from any part of the world.
“We are confident that Government is alive to that fact and will duly extend the reprieve so that we are able to cover up for the gap which resulted in because of Covid-19 lockdowns.
“It is through Government’s assistance that we have realised a 34 percent increase in production in the industry. From 10 000 metric tonnes of chickens in slaughters, we are now at 13 000 metric tonnes.
“The central authority has been helpful in providing the much-needed foreign currency through the auction system to the breeders. However, that assistance is still needed in the coming months,” he said.