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GM chicken imports hurt Zim poultry industry

The importation of genetically modified chicken into Zimbabwe following liberalisation of the market is having a negative impact on the local poultry industry, says Agro-concern CFI Holdings.

This company is involved in the poultry business through its subsidiary Crest Poultry Group, which includes Hubbard Zimbabwe, Crest Breeders, Suncrest, Agrifoods and Agrimix.

Group CEO Steve Kuipa said the liberalisation of the economy early this year resulted in an upsurge in low quality poultry imports, reports The Herald. The move was deliberately taken by the government to improve product availability following years of commodity shortages in the country.

"Our poultry division has been dealt a big blow given that cheap imported genetically modified product grown elsewhere is finding its way to Zimbabwe where we (local producers) are restricted to use organic feeding," Kuipa said.

Genetically modified chickens take less than a month from incubation to slaughter while those produced using organic feeds take the normal long route, which is expensive. This makes locally produced chicken more expensive than imports as feed is also expensive.

Kuipa went on to say that the Zimbabwe Poultry Association had since made presentations to the government to protect the local industry. He added that the government has since undertaken to protect the sector through such measures as imposing tax on imports.

Local consumers have also expressed reservations over the quality of imported chicken but due to financial limitations, many are nevertheless buying the imports.

Source: AllAfrica.com

Natalie Berkhout

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