Zimbabwe's government has said that it will continue to support small poultry farmers in an effort to grow the poultry sector and boost the overall agriculture industry, according to government officials.

The country's poultry industry is one of the fastest-growing agro sectors, according to Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development. It's targeted to produce 72 million day-old chicks by the end of 2012, compared to 52 million in 2011, and the government is prepared to intensify its efforts towards helping small-holder farmers achieve high production levels.

"The government is aware of the problems of small-scale producers when it comes to exploitative tendencies under contract farming arrangements," said Masoka. "With the establishment of the Agricultural Marketing Authority, the government will ensure that contractual agreements are balanced to avoid exploitation. As a ministry, we believe that the development of small-scale producers can result in increased productivity, improved incomes and employment creation, as well as food and nutrition security."

The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union is pushing for funds to assist with activities in the poultry sector, and farmers recently appealed to the Zimbabwe government for assistance in securing processing facilities and markets for local chicken to compete with imports.