By HELEN ZULU –
ZAMBIA’S egg production grew by 18 per cent during the year ended 2014, the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) has said.
TEgg production increased to 1, 058.5 million last year up from 899.7 million eggs produced in 2013.
The industry recorded a growth of nine per cent in broiler production from 68 million in 2013 to 73.9 million day-old chicks in 2014.
PAZ chairperson Rhodnie Sisala said the industry’s growth was mainly driven by high demand for poultry meat on account of higher prices of other meat products like beef, pork and mutton.
Mr Sisala said this at the PAZ 13th annual general meeting in Lusaka last Friday.
He said the rise in demand for chicken meat was compounded by the emergence of the African swine fever, which affected the pork industry and led to the scarcity of pork products.
He said the industry was estimated to be contributing 42 per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of livestock agriculture, making the sector the largest livestock sub-sector at the moment.
Mr Sisala said the industry had become vital to the economy as it contributed products of high nutritional value at low cost and created direct and indirect employment for nearly 50,000 people.
Despite the poultry industry recording positive growth during the period under review, it faced a number of challenges, which included the unregulated fees and levies emerging in different district councils which are mounting added costs to the industry.
Other challenges are bird flu, importation of frozen chicken and chicken parts disguised as mechanically deboned meat (MDM), ban on backyard chicken rearing in Lusaka and Kafue, high cost of inputs and the lack of legislative framework.
Agriculture and Livestock Minster Given Lubinda said the ban on backyard poultry production required consensus reflections because it was touching on the livelihood of the people.
Mr Lubinda said his ministry would engage the Ministry of Local Government and Housing together with the local authority to find a lasting solution to the issue.