Govt suspends duty on fertilised poultry eggs

HARARE - Irvine's Zimbabwe is among a list of approved poultry breeders who received a shot in the arm after government suspended duty on six approved fertilised poultry eggs importers.

This comes after the poultry industry has been recording a slump owing to the highly pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza virus commonly known as bird flu, which broke out in the country in May.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa announced the new regulations under Statutory Instrument 124 of 2017 in a Government Gazette published last Friday. The regulations took effect from August 1 and will run up to February 2018.

“It is hereby notified that the minister of Finance and Economic Development has in terms of section 235 as read with section 120 of the Customs and Excise Act made the following regulations:-…9(AA) suspension on duty on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching imported by approved poultry breeders,” Chinamasa said in Friday’s gazette.

“Duty is wholly suspended on fertilised poultry eggs for hatching…by approved poultry breeders for a period of six months with effect from August 1, 2017.” The suspension of duty has been set with varying quantities with Irvine’s import of fertilised poultry eggs for hatching being ring fenced at 432 000 per week.

The other producers eligible for the suspension of duty are Supa Chicks who will be allowed 160 000 per week, Chinyika Chicks -100 000 per week, Dr. Henn - 90 000 per week, Zim Avian - 40 000 per week, All Avian - 30 000 per week.

Since the bird flu affected Zimbabwe, the country’s poultry products were banned from being sold into Sadc markets while hatching eggs from South Africa were also banned into the country.

Avian flu, is a virus that occurs naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and affects domestic poultry and other birds and animal species.       

At the height of the avian flu outbreak, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest poultry producers, Irvine’s Private Limited’s self-contained commercial poultry breeding farm disposed of at least 140 000 birds.

This followed an outbreak of avian influenza at its premises which killed 7 000 birds.

Lanark Farm owned by Irvine’s is still under three-month quarantine and no new outbreak has been reported.

Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson, Solomon Zawe, has acknowledged that the industry is “down” but is optimistic the importation of hatchings duty free will see it picking up, although the shortage of foreign currency could be another hurdle.

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