Zimbabwe pays the price for ban on SA egg imports

Zimbabwe could find itself with a severe shortage of hatching eggs thanks to a ban on imports from South Africa due to persistent Avian Influenza outbreaks.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association (ZPA) chairman, Solomon Zawe, said that local production of hatching eggs was expected to remain depressed until the end of 2018 – and as a result, Zimbabwe would continue to depend heavily on imports to satisfy demand.

Local production of hatching eggs declined from 7.4 million in December 2017 to 5.5 million in March 2018, while egg imports grew to 5 million in March this year from 1.35 million in November 2017.

The country has largely been relying on imports from Zambia – and anywhere outside of the Southern African Development Community – as a result of the ban which will remain in place until the “avian influenza situation is improved”.

“We are currently receiving adequate supply from other avenues although the cost is certainly higher as the eggs have to be transported from a region that is much further away than our neighbour South Africa,” ZPA economist, Chrispen Sukume, told FTW Online. “The production of broiler chickens, on the other hand, has made a strong recovery in the first quarter of 2018, 37% more than the same period last year.”

Sukume added that while there was a lot of investment coming into the Zimbabwean poultry industry at the moment to offset the risks faced by the sector, it would take a while for the local industry to recover.

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