23rd Feb, 2006: Zimbabwe - The country is facing acute shortages of stockfeed resulting in producers hiking prices of live stock products and by-products in the past two months.
Successive drought years have seen persistent shortages of maize in the country, which have threatened not only the livestock industry but has left more than four million people in need of food aid. Manufacturers of livestock products have turned to expensive imported substitutes to cushion themselves from the raw materials shortages.
Leading food processor and distributor, National Foods (Natfoods), confirmed the hardships in accessing raw materials needed to produce stockfeed. A Natfoods public relations consultant, Linda Musesengwa, said the critical shortage of the complete stock feed has led to the company selling and distributing concentrates to avert a livestock crisis.
She added that farmers had to add maize to the concentrate to make a complete feed for their livestock.
"National Foods is currently distributing concentrate. The farmers then add their own maize to make the complete feed," said the Natfoods consultant. "The shortage of complete feed is due to the overall shortage of maize in the country."
The gap in the supply of stock feed has also resulted in shortages of chicks for breeding, resulting in the increase in prices of chicken products.
A survey in most retail shops revealed that the price of chicken and eggs have gone up by more than 100 percent since January this year.
The cost of a kilogram of chicken now exceeds $350 000, up from $150 000 at the beginning of the year, while a single egg has gone up from $2 500 to $12 500.
Currently, efforts are underway to boost the production of soya and maize, major components in the manufacturing of products such as cereals and stock feed.
"It is difficult to give an exact figure for prices of stock feed for all animal types because they are periodically reviewed in line with input costs," they said.