Zimbabwe poultry producers aim to produce 72 million day-old chicks in 2012, up from 2011's 52 million, as the country's consumers lean more towards domestically produced chicken, according to the Zimbabwe Poultry Association.

The country has a combined hatching capacity of 76 million day-old chicks per year, but cheap imported chickens have competed with local farmers who are dealing with high production costs and a challenging economy. The rise in capacity is due to an increase in the number of farmers opting to raise chickens following a recent reduction in production costs, according to Solomon Zawe, Zimbabwe Poultry Association chairperson."New players are coming on board; those who sell their tobacco will also want to invest in the sector," he said. Thirty-five percent of the anticipated production will be coming from small farmers.