BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE number of slaughtered pigs increased by nearly 20% in 2018 compared to the previous year, but the sector remained heavily constrained by high costs of feed and veterinary medicines, an official has said.
Pig Industry Board (PIB) director Andrew Shoniwa told NewsDay that a total of 13 002 tonnes were produced through registered abattoirs in 2018 compared to 10 882 tonnes in 2017.
“The pig industry performed very well in 2018. It registered significant growth in terms of pork output. The tonnage of pork produced through registered abattoirs increased by 19,5%,” Shoniwa said.
He, however, lamented the high cost of feed and veterinary medicines, especially during the fourth quarter.
“There was a shortage of soyabean meal and many farmers were forced to buy ready-made pig feeds instead of compounding their feeds at the farm. Some suppliers priced their products in US dollar and this affected many farmers who could not sell their pork in US dollar,” he said.
“The three-tier pricing system was a major challenge. The price in bond notes of most products was very high, defying the official exchange rate of 1:1.”
Shoniwa said 2019 was likely to be affected by low rainfall in most parts of the country, which will most likely result in the shortage of soyabean meal supplies.
“The three-tier pricing system and the high cost of imported feed ingredients and drugs is likely going to continue. In terms of pork output through registered abattoirs, we are likely to marginally increase the tonnage to about 13 500,” he said.
Shoniwa said the value chain approach would be used to grow the sector going forward.
He said PIB and the Pig Producers Association of Zimbabwe would work together to ensure that producers were organised into business groups.
“We will undertake campaigns and promotions to highlight the nutritive value of pork and pork products,” he said.