THE Poultry Association of Zambia has predicted a shortage of day-old chicks in the country for the next two to three months.

In an interview, PAZ executive manager Dominic Chanda attributed the shortage to the increase in demand of chickens on the market.

“The current number of day-old chicks that is being produced, cannot surpass the demand that is existing. There has been an excess demand that has been created by new people that have come into the industry, for simple reasons that chicken still remains the cheapest source of protein compared to the price of fish, beef and pork. So as a result, there has been this demand from the consumers,” he said.

“Because of the increase in the prices of chicken that we have seen and observed in the past one year, this has attracted a lot of people to come into the industry. So the waiting period of two to three months for retailers to receive their order of day old chicks from wholesalers is existing because the current number of chicks that are being produced cannot meet the demand.”

Chanda further noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had contributed to the shortage of day-old chicks as it limited the importation of the grandparent stock.

“We could not import the grandparent stock into this country because the airline industry was closed. There were no airlines from Europe flying in and even ourselves we closed the borders including the airports. Because of that, we created a situation where we could not invest in the grandparent stock and we started feeling the impact immediately a year after. You remember last year, same period, we never had this problem but we have this problem because of that issue of not putting up a good number of the grandparent stock,” he said.

“So the production process is one year but if you take into account the procurement process and the expansion, it may take between 22 to 24 months. So that process itself is actually something that the industry is working on. I have been informed that there are a number of parent stocks that have actually been growing now but have not yet reached that maturity to start producing eggs to meet the demand. So we might have this scenario for the next two to three months but I’m sure the numbers should be increasing from the day old chicks that have been supplied on the market.”