Livestock market update

The Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) was inaugurated at a meeting held at the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Water Development on December 2, 1994 and meets bi-monthly to discuss and deliberate upon issues that affect the livestock industry.

It draws together representatives of its allied associations to create partnerships for lobbying and advocacy to ensure a viable and sound livestock and meat industry.

LMAC is proud to provide this livestock market update for the benefit of all stakeholders in the agricultural industry.


Maize imports increased by 99 percent from 283 900t in 2014 to 566 000t in 2015 and the average price per tonne was 22 percent lower at $295/t.

The country is projected to continue importing maize and the volumes are expected to be much higher in 2016 as the maize harvest is forecast to be significantly reduced as a result of the El Nino weather phenomenon being experienced throughout the Sadc region.

It is estimated that the region will need to import 18 million tonnes over the next 18 months and the bulk of these imports will be via deep sea.

This will put pressure on transport logistics as the major ports have never been tested to handle such large volumes of grain.

The expected soya-meal harvest will be way below the requirements of the chicken, pig and fish feed manufacturing needs.

Zambia is still the key supplier of GMO free soya-meal and it is likely that there will be a price increase in 2016 due to high demand as other regional countries are also forecasting below normal harvests.

Maize and wheat bran are in short supply and imported product is landing at $185-$205/t.

The livestock industry has been advocating for a reduction in the imports of processed wheat flour and maize meal and an increase in wheat and maize grain imports to ensure that local millers operate at capacity and feed manufacturers have access to cheap wheat and maize bran by products.

Due to the current drought, there will be a significant increase in the demand for cattle feed in which molasses and cotton cake are key ingredients.

Despite decreased production in 2014 /15, there is enough cotton cake to last until the 2016 harvest.

However, the projected low harvest for the 2015 /16 season will create shortages later in the year.

Equally, molasses is in short supply due to the annual shut down of sugarcane plants.

The current low rainfall will most likely negatively impact upon sugarcane production and molasses output in the coming season.

Stockfeeds produced in 2015 averaged 44 351t/month, an increase of 14 percent over 2014. While the average price of feed raw materials procured in 2015 were 10 percent lower than prices in 2014, the prices of a number of raw materials had increased.

The softening poultry feed sales in the last six months of 2015 were partly offset by a 35 percent increase in cattle feeds and fourth quarter cattle feed production was 61 percent up on the same period in 2014, led by demand for maintenance cubes.

Beef Sector

There is a glut on the beef market as farmers have been encouraged to destock to salvage some income from their cattle before they succumb to the drought.

As a result,average auction prices softened by 17 percent in December 2015 while wholesale prices started falling from December into January.

Commercial and economy gradeshave dominated the slaughters for the last two years and total cattle slaughters in 2015 were 257 525, an increase of 4 percent compared to 2014.

Statistics show a declining trend in imports in 2015 and the volume dropped by 8 percent to 783t.

By the third week of January, approximately 14 000 cattle had died due to the effects of the drought.

Matabeleland North and South, Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland recorded most cattle deaths.

A partnership has been proposed between government, abattoir operators and cattle producers experiencing drought stress which facilitates the establishment of feedlots, the procurement of raw materials for feed manufacture and the distribution of survival feeds to preserve core breeding animals.

The spread of foot-and-mouth disease has significantly reduced through vaccination efforts.

Stakeholders are concerned that the outbreak may resurface as cattle are being moved in search of grazing pastures, increasing the risk of contact with buffaloes, the host of the FMD virus.

Trade in hides and skins on the domestic market has been minimal as the price has significantly declined to between $0,50-$0,60/kg.

While the export market is offering competitive prices of $0,70- $0,85/kg, the current $0,75 cents/kg surtax on exported hides effectively acts as an export ban on unprocessed hides.

The Beef Carcass Classification and Grading System has been reviewed to ensure that it does not discriminate against carcasses from smaller cattle breeds such as the Mashona.

It is envisaged that the new classification system will also be applied to goat and sheep meat classification.

Poultry Sector

The broiler industry continues to contract and in 2105, day old chick sales and retentions were 74,5 million, 4 percent lower than 2014.

Similarly, chick prices declined from $74 per 100 chicks in June to $64 in December.

The number of birds slaughtered and total dressed weight of broiler meat in the large scale chicken abattoirs in 2015 were 1,85 million birds and 2,960mt per month, respectively.

However, the stockholding in 2015 was 26 percent higher than 2014 and averaged 868mt/month.

The average producer price was 4 percent lower than 2014 and declined to $2,55/kg.

Imports drastically reduced since November 2015 but concerns have been raised once again regarding the resurgence of imports, driven by the weakening rand and the AGOA agreement between South Africa and USA which includes beef, pork and poultry products.

The Division of Veterinary Services has reassured stakeholders that no permits are being issued for the importation of beef, pork and chicken.

This policy needs support from all industry stakeholders for it to be effective and to minimise the inflow of illegal imports by reporting such malpractices to relevant government authorities.

Production of table eggs in the large scale sector continues to decline and averaged 1,6 million dozen eggs per month in 2015, being 19 percent lower than that of 2014.

However, production in the small to medium scale sector based on sexed pullet sales is estimated to have peaked at 3,5 million dozen in December.

This increase in egg production is thought to be the main reason for the collapse in the table egg producer price which was 10 percent lower than 2014 and averaged $3,21 per tray in the last quarter of 2015.

Incidence of Newcastle Disease has been quiet due to reduced live bird market activity at Mbare Msika.

Quail producers are forming an association to promote production and to ensure that their activities are regularised for the good of their industry.

Pork Sector

A total of 140,445 pigs were slaughtered in 2015, an increase of 4 percent over 2014.

Predominant grades slaughtered were porkers and baconers and prices have continued to decline as demand for pork is being affected by depressed buying power due to low household incomes and fall in the price of alternative meat products. The producer price is currently $2,45-2,50.

Meat Processing Sector

Imports of mechanically deboned meat, a key raw material in making processed meats, was 12 percent lower in 2015 compared to the same period during 2014.

Processed meat sales have declined and December sales were the poorest in recent years.

Dairy Sector

The dairy industry continues to record a gradual increase in raw milk production and the year on year comparison shows an increase of 4 percent from 55,5 million litres in 2014 to 57,5 million litres in 2015.

The increase is partly attributable to the Dairy Revitalisation Programme which seeks to revive the dairy sector.

However, production still falls short of the national raw milk requirement of 120 million litres.

Fish Sector

Fish trade in Zimbabwe has been dominated by imports and Namibia is the major source.

Zimbabwe has the potential to be a net fish exporter if the right policies are put in place such as the promotion of aquaculture to complement catch fisheries and concerted efforts are made to promote a fish eating culture among Zimbabweans.

The Zimbabwe Fish Producers Association will be formally launched on March 17 with the primary objective of promoting fish production in Zimbabwe.

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