By KENNEDY MUPESENI –
INDUSTRIAL players have attributed the drastic increase in demand for chicks to the outbreak of bird flu in South Africa that has prompted neighbouring countries to import chicks and eggs from Zambia.
An official from the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) says increased demand for chicks currently being experienced in the country is a result of outbreak of bird flu in South Africa.
This has prompted neighbouring countries to import chicks and eggs from Zambia thereby causing shortages.
In an interview recently the official stated that selected hatcheries countrywide are experiencing an apparent shortage of chicks because of an unusually high demand that has been necessitated by neighbouring countries opting to buy chicks from Zambia.
“What has happened this year is that, because of the outbreak of bird flu in South Africa, countries which normally import chicken from South Africa are now importing some of the chickens and eggs from countries like Zambia that do not have bird flu.”
A check on most outlets in Kitwe indicated intermitted shortages of day-old chicks but sources from Zamchick indicated that Zambeef Products Plc’s subsidiary is up-to-date with chicks supply across its networks.
PAZ chairperson Rodney Sisala was recently quoted saying confirming that shortage was due to increased demand for chickens and eggs not only from within Zambia but from outside as well.
He assured that hatcheries have been communicated to over the
situation and that a number of them are taking steps to increase their production levels for chicks.
“So within the coming few weeks or months, we should see that situation normalising,” he said.
Mr Sisala explained that the demand for chicks is highest during the few months before the end of the year.
He said generally, this causes a drop in demand for chickens during the first quarter of every year.
Mr Sisala said because of this, hatcheries tend to put the anticipated fluctuation into their planning to avoid making losses.
Poultry farmers on the Copperbelt have in the recent weeks expressed their concern at the shortage of chicks in a number of outlets in the province.