Massive cull to stop avian flu costs Zim company $7.2m

Harare - Irvine’s, one of Zimbabwe’s largest food producers, suffered losses of $7.2m after culling chickens due to an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Irvine’s parent company Innscor on Wednesday said that it had culled 835 000 birds after an avian influenza outbreak at one of its farms.

“With the help of the responsible authorities, we culled 835 000 birds made up of broiler breeders and layer breeders,” said Innscor CEO Julian Schonken.

“We decided to cull all the birds at the affected farm to make sure that the disease does not recur,” said Schonken, adding that the company also brought experts from outside the country to make sure that everything is under control.

He said some chicken houses have since been closed, while the company is also importing new equipment to test the birds for diseases in the future.

Schonken said the company would need about $5.6m for the farm to recover.