Poultry breeders seek duty waiver

Staff Writer

Poultry breeders are seeking for duty waiver extension on hatching egg imports from outside the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as demand for day old chicks continue to surge.

This follows the expiry of the existing waiver this August, having been effected in March 2021. The waiver reduced the landing cost of import chicks by about 40%.

“We have since engaged the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement to consider our plea because the high demand for day old chicks is exceeding supply, and this shortage has led to an increase in price from about U$0.70 to U$1 per chick.

“As such, that increase coupled with escalating feed price also led to an increase in the price of chicken to U$6, from the usual price range of between U$4,50 and U$5 per bird,” said  the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council.

The number of poultry farmers have since doubled in the country following a bumper harvest, with many resorting to day-old chicks rearing.

Countries within the region are also reported to be grappling with depressed demand of day old chicks, hence expected imports are from Europe, particularly Spain which has been the major supplier.

Government will likely extend the waiver given that it had initially instituted it in an effort to keep the poultry sector afloat.

After COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, lockdown restrictions forced breeders to cull breeding stock because of depressed demand and restricted movement to access markets, hence recovery is expected in 12 to 18 months.