ZIMBABWE’S poultry sector suffered a 3% decline last year compared to the same period in 2019, after producing an average of 72 million day-old chicks, according to the Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA)’s latest report.
ZPA chairperson Solomon Zawe revealed that the total production of broiler day-old chicks in 2020 was 72 million, being decreases of 3% and 21% compared with 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Zawe said production of day-old chicks rallied from lows of 4.1 million in April and May, increasing to 7.6 million in October before declining to 6.7 million in December.
Fourth-quarter average production of 7 million chicks per month was the second-highest fourth-quarter production in recent years, being increases of 8% over the third quarter and 36% over the corresponding period in 2019.
In the fourth quarter, chick prices surged by 43% to ZW$8 988 (US$82) per 100 chicks.
“Despite the improvement of broiler breeder stocks and production of hatching eggs and day-old chicks, demand for chicks remained strong with reports of unmet orders for chicks in the fourth quarter,” he said.
“This was in part due to reduced imports of hatching eggs, influenced by difficulties in acquiring foreign currency. Beef output in the fourth quarter decreased, normal for this time of the year, and which was also impacted upon by cattle losses due to diseases.”
“In the coming months, cattle producers will likely hold onto stocks given the good rains and the need to rebuild their herds. The anticipated improved supply of local maize together with the tight supply of beef expected to stimulate demand for broiler meat. Consequently, demand for broiler day-old chicks is projected to remain firm,” Zawe said.
He said statistics show limited imports of poultry products and the authorities have investigated suspected importation of day-old chicks from Zambia.
The report also notes that large-scale broiler meat production rallied from an all-time low in recent years of 1.244 metric tonnes of meat in June and averaged 2.685 metric tonnes in the fourth quarter, being an increase of 22% over the third quarter but a decrease of 8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
In sharp contrast, estimated small-scale production in the fourth quarter averaged 8.338 metric tonnes per month, being increases of 3% and 62% compared with the third quarter of 2020 and tge fourth quarter of 2019.
“Differences in the performance of these sectors is due to large-scale operators diverting deliveries from abattoirs and marketing live birds,” Zawe said.
Total meat production in the fourth quarter was estimated at 11.023 metric tonnes per month, being increases of 7% and 37% compared with the third quarter of 2020 and fourth quarter of 2019 respectively.
Fourth-quarter broiler prices increased by between 8% and 26% over the third quarter (5% to 21%) when indexed to the US dollar.
Large-scale stockholding decreased by 53% and averaged 656 metric tonnes per month in the fourth quarter. Zawe said estimated total meat production for 2020 was 111.546 metric tonnes, decreases of 2% and 22% compared with 2019 and 2018, respectively.
The ZPA boss said broiler growing and in-production breeding stocks continued to recover from 592 539 birds in March and peaked at 729 059 birds in October before declining to 664 964 birds in December.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, breeder stocks were 9% up on the third quarter of 2019 and 4% up on the fourth quarter of 2019.