Despite the sector drowning over a million birds this year due to reduced demand on the local market, the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) has revealed that the government has yet to make a decision on the export of day old chicks.
Dominic Chanda, the association’s executive director, said the group had written to the Ministry of Agriculture to request permission to export day old chicks and hatched eggs, but had received no response despite meeting with the ministry several times.
Speaking in an interview Chanda said the association has stated their position concerning the matter and are now just waiting for government to make the final decision noting that they do not know why its taking so long for government to reach a conclusion.
“We haven’t heard anything from them, we have been having meetings but nothing is coming out from there.We don’t know what is happening but from our end we are still pushing that the export of day old chicks and hatching eggs be allowed”,he said.
The Poultry Association revealed that the cumulative number of day old chicks that the hatcheries had drowned because of the reduced demand for the birds on the market was 1.1 million in January 2022.
Drowning of chicks in the poultry industry means killing the chicks, by drowning or gassing them to avoid spending on feed and running out of space. The process is also applied to chicks with deformities and those deemed unfit for rearing.
Chanda said the hatcheries cannot reduce production, as there is no guarantee that the demand will remain low therefore if demand goes up while production has gone down, there would be a shortage of chicks on the market.
He said from the total number of day old chicks produced by the hatcheries, only 30% is guaranteed to be sold because commercial and large-scale businesses give hatcheries a plan for the whole year.
Chanda said 70% of what is produced is meant for customers who simply walk in to buy the chicks without long-term prior arrangements, which is a challenge especially in instances where the demand is low. The export of chics is expected to bring in the much needed forex.