LOSS OF MARKET

Poultry farmers scale down operations due to to cheap imports

Uganda is exporting more than 100,000 kgs of chicken to Kenya every month.

In Summary
  • The farmers through their lobby group said that lockdown has further affected their market due to sale restriction of eateries and fast-food joints.
  • Most restaurants are closed by 9pm, and the sale of hot foods banned during lockdown, chicken producers have lost a big part of their regular market.
Alphard Ndungu at his poultry farm at Kiamumbi. Photo/Monicah Mwangi
Alphard Ndungu at his poultry farm at Kiamumbi. Photo/Monicah Mwangi

More than 540,000 broiler farmers in the country have been forced to scale down their operation, due increased supply of processed chicken by Uganda farmers.

The farmers through their lobby group said that the lockdown has further affected their market due to sale restriction of eateries and fast-food joints that operate 24/7.

“Most restaurants are closed by 9pm, and the sale of hot foods banned during lockdown, chicken producers have lost a big part of their regular market,” said Kiambu Poultry Farmers’ Cooperative Society Director Zack Munyanbu.

 

Munyambu said that it is discouraging that during this challenging time, Kenyan poultry farmers must compete with highly subsidised chicken imports from EAC countries.

Uganda is exporting more than 100,000 kgs of chicken in Kenya every month.

“For every farmer who goes out of business or who have to scale down operations, workers lose jobs and become poorer," said Munyambu

He said Kenya already has such high unemployment rate and cannot afford to sit back and allow cheap imports to destroy an industry that employs thousands of people and produces food for the nation.

“A country that starts depending on imported food instead of producing enough food to feed its own people, is playing with fire. Food security cannot be sacrificed. We cannot sacrifice our own people’s jobs,”he said.

Arthur Kimani a farmer in Wangige said he raises 55, 000 chicks every 32-day cycle on behalf of a big producer, who buys the birds back from us and if the market is weak the producer might scale down the number of cycles in his calendar.

“This would affect my business and my 12 full-time workers risk losing work, because with fewer cycles I might not be able to afford all of them.”

He said the government should speed up the processes of harmonising tariffs to discourage floding of the local market with imports.

"We have to prioritise our own food producers for the sake of our own food security in this country," he said.

He said Covid-19 is changing the economic outlook and Kenya has to take the necessary precautions to protect farmers..