An assessment of the profitability of small holder commercial egg production in Zimbabwe: A case study of Goromonzi, UMP and Mutasa districts

Gabayi, Princess (2013) An assessment of the profitability of small holder commercial egg production in Zimbabwe: A case study of Goromonzi, UMP and Mutasa districts. UNSPECIFIED thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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The past few years in Zimbabwe have seen a rise in the number of smallholder farmers taking up commercial poultry production. Past research has also shown that smallholder poultry production suffers from low profitability emanating from high mortality rates caused by disease outbreaks, low laying rates and increasing cost of feed among other things. This study aimed at investigating the profitability of smallholder commercial egg production in Zimbabwe given the constraints which farmers face. The study used descriptive statistics to provide a general description of 260 randomly sampled commercial egg producing households supported by Non Governmental Organisations for producing eggs under the cage and deep litter system. The study revealed that the average age of the heads of sampled households was 55 years and most of these heads were educated (96.1%). Hen performance under the cage system was relatively better when compared to that under the deep litter system, measured by parameters such as mortality rate, laying rate, cumulative hen housed eggs and feed conversion ratio. The K-S test for equality of distributions also revealed that both farmers operating under the cage and deep litter system were operating below optimal levels expected. The gross margin analysis was also applied and it revealed that feed costs were the major factor contributing to total production costs in percent terms 56.1, 56.29, 47.41 and 45.76 for the 6 birds caged, 12 birds caged, 18 birds caged and 20 birds in the deep litter system respectively. The returns per dollar invested were USD0.48, USD0.39, USD0.63 and a negative USD0.04 for the 6 birds caged, 12 birds caged, 18 birds caged and 20 birds in the deep litter system respectively. The coefficient of private profitability revealed that it is profitable to produce eggs under the cage system at all flock levels while on the other hand it is not profitable to produce under the deep litter system at the prevailing level of production and prices. A generalised linear model was also fitted to estimate the hypothesised determinants of profitability per 1000 eggs by applying the Ordinary Least Squares. The Ordinary Least Squares regression revealed that a 1kg increase in feed required to produce a dozen eggs will result in USD30.26 decline in profit per 1000 eggs. Holding other factors constant, farmers which faced difficulties in getting customers for their eggs experienced a USD 9.20 decline in profit per 1000 eggs. Farmers operating under the cage system earned USD27.33 more profit than those operating under the deep litter system. Being a member to a poultry producer association resulted in USD14.98 more profit than not being a member. Households which were headed by males had USD6.80 more profit than their female counterparts. The thematic analysis of data from focus group discussions revealed that egg producing households had weak linkages with input suppliers. The farmers perceived poor physical infrastructure to be fuelling costs of production in commercial eggs. The farmers also identified lack of access to credit as a bottle neck which was resulting in limited expansion of the egg enterprise. From the results of the study, it can be deduced that high feed costs, labour costs, veterinary costs, building costs and mortality rate are associated with lower profitability while on the other hand higher laying rate results in increased profit. Hen performance under the deep litter housing system performed poorly when compared to that under cages. Farmers are encouraged to produce home grown feed to minimise feed costs. Continued training with a change in approach was also recommended for improvement management of hens. Policy makers and investors willing to assist farmers can also channel resources towards the rehabilitation of the road network linking rural areas to major towns/cities for improved access to input and output markets. This study concluded by recommending that a study be commissioned to explore the use of home grown feeds for cost minimisation without compromising on productivity within the smallholder commercial egg enterprise

Item Type: Thesis (UNSPECIFIED)
Uncontrolled Keywords: smallholder-farming communities,poultry production,egg production
Divisions: Universities > State Universities > University of Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr. Edmore Sibanda
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2016 22:30
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2016 22:30

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