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Zimbabwe okays imports of hatching eggs as bird flu hits local supplies

Zimbabwe chicken breeders will this month begin importing hatching eggs from Europe as the country moves to avert shortage of poultry products sparked by the avian influenza outbreak, an industry official has said.

Zimbabwe was hit by two outbreaks of the highly pathogenic bird flu in May and July at Lanark Farm, which is owned by the biggest chicken breeder in the country, Irvine’s.

Over 250 000 chickens were culled at Irvine’s to stop the spread of the highly contagious bird flu virus.

These were 180 000 broiler parent stock and 83 000 layers.

Neighboring South Africa was hit by 24 outbreaks of the H5N8 strain of bird flu since June, including 10 at commercial chicken farms and three at ostrich farms, ruling out chick imports from that country.

The local market has started to feel the impact of the bird flu outbreak as table eggs and day- old chicks are becoming either scarce or expensive for the consumers.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairman Solomon Zawe said that the government has given breeders permits to import hatching eggs for both day- old chicks and layers.

“We are running short of day- old chicks but starting September 16, we will be importing hatching eggs from Europe because the breeders and layers stock has been affected by bird flu. All major poultry breeders got import permits from the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Zawe.

He said over one million hatching eggs would be imported from Europe. – The Source

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