Poultry industry embarks on massive restocking exercise

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Elita Chikwati
The poultry industry has embarked on a massive restocking exercise following an avian influenza outbreak that hit the country between May and August last year.

The country is now free from the disease that killed over one million chickens in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

According to the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council June update, pre-laying broiler breeder birds increased from 130 000 birds in September 2017 to 306 000 birds in March 2018.

“This is an upward increase in the total number of broiler breeder birds, which rose to 574 000 birds in March 2018. However, this is still 13 percent lower than the stocks before the outbreak of avian influenza.”

The broiler breeding national stock declined from 660 000 birds in April to 490 000 birds in June and declined further to 470 000 in December 2017.

Between January and March 2018, laying breeder stocks declined from 298 000 birds to 268 000 birds as spent breeder layers were not matched or surpassed by growing breeders coming into lay.

“Projections are that local production of hatching eggs will remain depressed until the last quarter of 2018, necessitating the continued high dependence on imported hatching eggs to satisfy demand for day-old chicks from local poultry farmers,” reads the report.

Local production of hatching eggs declined 7,4 million in December 2017 to 5,5 million in March 2018 while hatching egg imports increased from 1,35 million in November 2017 to 5 million in March 2018.

“As a result, production of day – old chicks has remained firm and averaged 7,1 million in the first quarter of 2018, representing an increase of 32 percent on the same period in 2017.

“Broiler Meat Production Broiler, which had declined to a monthly average of 7 546 tonnes in the third quarter of 2017, has recovered very strongly since then,” reads the report.
The recovery has continued into the first quarter of 2018.

The monthly average production of 11 213 tonnes of broiler meat during the first quarter of 2018 was 37 percent more than the average production in the first quarter of 2017.
Large-scale broiler meat production peaked at a new high of 4 379 tonnes.

Ever since the outbreak of the disease, there has been a sustained upward move on the prices of eggs and other poultry products.

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