Huge amounts of chicken are being smuggled under the noses of authorities in Zimbabwe, who have failed to stop a massive racket to ship into the country expired chicken declared unsuitable for human consumption in South Africa, it emerged.
With the economy in turmoil, eroding spending power and drought causing food prices to skyrocket, consumers are not complaining that much if their frozen chicken has – well – a little stink, “as long as it is cheap,” according to a Consumer Action report. But the government of president Robert Mugabe is being blamed by its neighbour for neglecting to stem the destructive syndicates, whose total efforts cost the taxman millions of rands.
Huge amounts of chicken meat entered Zimbabwe between March and September 2015 but most of it was not recorded on the national trade database, according to an investigative report by the South African Revenue Service seen by Now Daily. Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairman Solomon Zawe acknowledged that there was evidence of smuggling of expired chicken meat, which was then sold cheaply in the country. He said as much as eight per cent of the broiler chicken sold in supermarkets emanated from this black market. The formal chicken market absorbs roughly 2 500 metric tonnes per month while 200 tonnes came from these shady sources in SA.
Zawe said these illicit imports had a huge impact on the sector.
“In addition, because the imports have not been reflected in Zimstat records, it implies that they are illegal and no duties have been paid. Furthermore, the average price per kg of $0.52 suggests that the product is being under-declared or is time-expired,” Zawe said.
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