DESPITE a chicken import ban, data from the South African Revenue Services shows that over 1 000 tonnes of frozen chicken and offals were exported by that country to Zimbabwe from 2017.
The Livestock, Meat and Advisory Council (LMAC) reports that of this figure, 123 tonnes were exported between August and December when the ban was in full force.
“Soon after the announcement of the outbreak of Avian Influenza in South Africa in June 2017, the Government of Zimbabwe banned imports of all chicken products from that country. However, information from the South African Revenue Services shows that 1 062 tonnes of frozen chicken and offals were exported to Zimbabwe during the same period,” LMAC said.
It is estimated that revenue of $1,6 million for 2017 was lost through these illicit imports and the country was put at risk of a resurgence of the influenza virus in Zimbabwe. The disease is yet to be controlled in South Africa.
The outbreak reduced broiler production in Zimbabwe from 118 000 tonnes in 2016 to 106 000 tonnes in 2017. The country is still reeling from shortages of eggs after only 38 million dozen eggs were produced in 2017 ― 31 percent lower than the 55 million dozen realised in 2016.
Wholesale off-farm prices that stood at $2,85 per tray in November 2016 jumped to $4,40 per 30-egg tray in November 2017, with frequent stock-outs being experienced in most major supermarkets.
“Though the country was certified free of Avian Influenza at the end of January 2018, the loss in poultry breeding stock will linger for a while, necessitating the importation of hatching eggs.
“This has led to the price of broiler chicks rising from $0,65 early in 2017 to the current $1 per chick. Prices of layer chicks rose from $1,20 early in 2017 to $2 per chick. The negative impacts were also felt in the feeds sector which saw demand declining from 522 821 tonnes in 2016 to 420 491 tonnes in 2017,” LMAC said.