By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
A shortage of day-old chicks has hit the market countrywide despite more than 1.5 million chicks being offloaded every week, as prices of chickens shoot up due to increase in the prices of feedstock.
A check in many outlets showed that customers were being turned away as huge volumes of orders were still pending.
In some cases, entrepreneurs in poultry business have been placing orders for deliveries to be done after some weeks while some outlets were no accepting any orders as their lists were full.
But the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) Executive Director, Mr Dominic Chanda, said that the market had been hit by high demand for chicks.
The increased demand is an effect of Covid-19 as the Zambian poultry industry imports “grandparents” stock from Europe as well as the coming in of new layer of poultry farmers in the sector.
Mr Chanda explained that the limited number of grandparents from Europe had caused a shake up in the supply of day old chicks.
“When we buy the grandparent from Europe you have to grow it for six months, two weeks they start dropping eggs, you put them in an incubator from there you have a second line called a parade, again you grow that for six months, then you have a broiler “It takes a total of 13 months when you receive a grandparent in Zambia, for you to see that commercial broiler or layer, it has to take that 13 months. That is if the grandparent lands in Lusaka,” he said in an interview.
Mr Chanda also attributed the shortage of day-old chicks to a new layer of farmers in the poultry industry.
“What we have right now is over demand. Every week over 1.5 million chicks are being offloaded on the market. So there is no shortage, the chicks are there it is just that there is over demand.
“This is coming in because there has been a new layer of farmers that have come into production. Last time when Covid-19 came in, people started staying home and discovered poultry as the only activity they could do,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Chanda said the sharp increase in prices of chickens was due to high prices of input such as feed stock.
He explained that prices of feed had moved from last year’s price of K250 to about K470 for a 50 kilogramme in the last two weeks.
Mr Chanda indicated that depending on a supplier, the price of starter currently ranged between K290 and K350 for a 50 kg.
“This is because the major input in the feed which is soya cake is dollar denominated so any devaluation of currency, there is a direct effect in the prices of input in the feed.
“Prices of soya beans is now about K12 per kg. So these prices where soya cake comes from has doubled. Feeds accounts for about 70 percent of the total input of growing chickens. This is what is causing the prices of chicken to go up, it has nothing to do with limited supply of chickens,” he said.
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