Bird flu costs Irvine’s Zimbabwe millions

Bird's flu costs Irvine's millions

Irvine’s Zimbabwe, the largest chicken producer in the country, is reported to have lost close to $7.3million in related costs as a result of the effects of the bird flu outbreak at one of its breeding sites in Harare sometime in May this year.

Reporting its financial results for the year ended 30 June 2017, Innscor Africa Limited – which controls Irvine’s – reported that $7, 284 million had been charged to its income statement in costs related to the outbreak.

Following the outbreak of the deadly pathogenic bird flu which killed close to 7,000 birds, Irvine’s Zimbabwe had to take preventative and precautionary measures by culling close to 140, 000 birds to prevent further contagion. In July this year, traces of the deadly disease were still evident at the breeding site and through the recommendation of the Department of Veterinary Services, Irvine’s Zimbabwe had to further destroy the flocks to ensure total eradication and contain the disease in order to avoid a national crisis.

The outbreak has since been contained although the market can still feel ripple effects of the outbreak through shortages of table eggs, chicks and chickens. As reported by the Chairman, Mr Addington Chinake, Irvine’s Zimbabwe is currently sustaining its operations through importation of hatching eggs whilst the farm is undergoing sanitation procedures in readiness for restocking.

Way Forward:

  • there is need for players in the industry to increase public awareness and training on bio-security management.
  • there is need for responsible authorities to increase or strengthen monitoring and surveillance especially on large breeding sites.
  • shortages of table eggs, chicks and chickens is a golden opportunity for new and existing small scale poultry growers to fill in the lucrative market gap.
  • government should consider relaxing import permit application procedures to enable new and existing breeders to import hatching eggs.

So, if you had second thoughts on starting a poultry business, I encourage you to throw away that doubt and go for it. Chickens are fun to keep and you will definitely earn a living only if you are hard working and business-oriented.

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