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High feed price to injure poultry sector

TRYNESS MBALE -Lusaka
THE increase in the price of key ingredients for feed in the poultry sector and volatile kwacha in the first quarter might result in the rise in the price of chickens and eggs, the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) has noted.
The situation has resulted in the cost of broiler production among small-scale farmers translating in about six percent increase during the first quarter.
According to the ZNFU weekly agro watch, the price of broiler in Lusaka has gone up by 15 percent costing a minimum of K30 since July 2014 while the price of eggs has risen by five percent with a tray now costs K20 as of March 20, 2015.
“Price of feed has been on the rise during the first quarter of the year following an uptrend in prices of key ingredients as well as depreciation of the kwacha against other tradable currencies. Feed is a key input in poultry farming and this rise suggests that prices of eggs and chicken will also rise,” the report reads.
The rising cost of feed has resulted in most small and micro farmers who represent a significant number of the industry unable to meet their overhead costs of sustaining the operations.
Some farmers are even considering suspending their farm operations with feed prices pegged as high as K205 for broiler starter feeds.
“It has been predicted by industry players that if, the present crisis is not addressed and the market forces do not control the situation, a lot more farmers may be forced out of the market, which may result in reduced supply of eggs and chickens,” the statement reads.
Similarly, in Kasama and Chipata, an average live bird has risen to K32.50 from K30 and K29 from K25 respectively due to the current increase in poultry feed prices.
However, the price for free-range (village) chicken in Kabwe declined to K48.75 from K52.50 after farmers offloaded large quantities of the birds on the market.

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