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Mozambique is to start importing hatching eggs for the production of chicks from Europe today following the country’s ban on poultry and poultry product imports from various African countries.
The prohibition on the import or transit of live poultry, wild birds and fresh and frozen meat from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Congo is the result of an outbreak of avian influenza.
The ban also covers the import of day-old chicks, fertile and consumer eggs, products of poultry origin for use in animal feed or for agricultural or industrial purposes. The national poultry industry is beginning to feel the effects of these measures and to avoid a chicken shortage the government has authorised recourse to the European market.
Mário Couto, general manager of Higest, one of the companies supplying chickens, feeds and medicines for poultry, said that, with the importation of hatching eggs from Europe, the company’s offering was expected to normalise within two weeks.
However, procurement and air transport costs are twice as high as those from South Africa and other neighbouring countries.
Speaking yesterday during the visit of the Minister of Industry and Commerce to the company’s facilities in Machava, Matola municipality, Couto said that Higest produces about 230,000 chickens a week, some of which are sold to the small domestic poultry farmers which satisfy about half of national poultry demand.
Couto said that his firm still has no problems supplying chicken, as it currently has 360 tonnes of frozen chicken in stock and was slaughtering an average of 16 to 17 tonnes per day.
Higest had acquired 1,400 tons of soybeans from small farmers in different parts of the country for the production of poultry feed. Minister Tonela said that, after urging producers to raise production levels, the current challenge was marketing.
Minister Tonela yesterday also visited two MEREC group factories which produce corn flour and wheat, biscuits and pasta. The firm runs facilities in Maputo, Beira and Nacala.