The shortage in the supply of table eggs is expected to ease by Christmas this year.
The country has been experiencing a shortage table eggs following the outbreak of bird fluthat hit one of the country’s biggest poultry producers Irvine’s. The outbreak saw Irvine’s culling approximately 835 000 birds including layer breeders. This resulted in a shortfall in the supply of tabled eggs by approximately 900 000 dozen eggs per month.
Responding to emailed questions, senior economist, Zimbabwe Poultry Association Dr Chrispen Sukume, said avian influenza had a significant impact on egg supply in the local industry as it led to culling of commercial egg producing birds.
“From January to June the large scale egg production sector was operating with about 890 000 layers. Culling at the avian influenza affected production site, reduced the number of layers to 478 000 birds in the large scale sector,” said Dr Sukume.
“The impact on national egg supply from the above reduction in commercial layers was that average monthly supply fell from 3,5 million dozen eggs per month prior to August to 2,6 million dozen eggs thereafter — a shortfall of 900 000 dozen eggs per month. This is the reason we are seeing shortages as well as increases in prices on the market,” he said.
A survey conducted by Business Weekly last week revealed that most CBD retail outlets didn’t have eggs in stock. This week, the situation was yet to improve with some retailers not having eggs in store. Responding to enquiries by Business Weekly, a manager at a leading CBD supermarket said the supply of eggs has not been consistent since August.
“We used to get supplies twice a week but now we get them only once a week. Even when we get them the quantities are much lower than what we used to get,” said the manager who requested not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the press.
The Pick n Pay store along Jason Moyo was, however, fully stocked with eggs fairly priced at $5,09 and $5,49 per crate.
Dr Sukume said producers are responding to the shortfall by investing in layer birds.
“Since it takes about six months for a layer day old chick to reach point of laying, we expect the situation to begin to normalise around Christmas time this year,” said Dr Sikume.