Zambian poultry farmers are delighted that the bumper maize harvest, coupled with increased soya bean production, will mitigate the cost of stock feed.
Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) president Dominic Chanda said the anticipated drop in stock feed will spur further investment in the sector.
“Maize and soya beans are major inputs into poultry stock feed and it is anticipated that the bumper harvest of the two crops will lower the cost of inputs,” said Chanda.
Zambia expected to harvest 3.6 million tons of maize this year, a 25% increase from last year. Soya bean production also increased to 351 416 tons from last year’s 267 490.
The cost of maize is expected to drop to about US$297 per ton from US$380, while soya bean which cost US$520 per ton is expected to drop to US$400.
According to Chanda, feed alone accounts for more than 60% of poultry farmers’ input costs. This has led to many poultry farmers abandoning the sector or down-scaling production.
He said favourable feed prices will help smallholder farmers – who pulled out of the sector – rebound.
The country’s poultry industry contributes around 4.8% to the agricultural gross domestic product (GDP). Livestock value addition is 48%.
The sector also generates direct and indirect income and employment for an estimated 80 000 people, 50 000 of which are in permanent jobs, while 30 000 are seasonal workers.