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UNFAIR COMPETITION

Protect farmers from cheap imports, state told

Price of a tray of eggs has gone down from Sh270 to Sh150 since June

In Summary

• Maina says it is a shame the country is importing eggs, milk, vegetables and maize from Uganda and Tanzania.

• Cheap eggs from Uganda have flooded the market and created a glut.

Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina in Karatina town on January 21
CALL: Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina in Karatina town on January 21
Image: EUTYCUS MUCHIRI

Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina has warned Kenya risks plunging its citizens into deeper economic troubles if it continues importing basic agricultural commodities from its neighbours.

He said it is a shame the country is importing eggs, milk, vegetables and maize from Uganda and Tanzania. He it is also worrying importation of fish from China is going up. 

In a phone interview with the Star, Maina said he was not against neighbouring countries trading freely but insisted Kenya must support its farmers to ensure they compete effectively in the market. 

“The the market is liberalised. We must find out why and how the neighbouring countries are producing these products cheaply such that they can transport them all the way to our market and still sell at a cheaper rate than our farmers.

“Eggs importation may make the country collide with its people,” he said.

On February 5, poultry farmers from Kiambu county protested against cheap eggs from Uganda and flooding Wangige, one of the largest East African eggs markets.

The farmers said cheap eggs from Uganda had flooded the market and created a glut.

The price of a tray of eggs has gone down from Sh270 to a low of Sh150 since June last year.

“Uganda is producing eggs cheaply more than us. Even if the market is liberated, it is a challenge for us to find a way,” he said.

Maina opposed calls to shift to other products such as avocados, saying it will be an admission of failure of the agriculture sector in the country.

“If you desert from what you know because of failure, you will not succeed anywhere else. You can't abandon coffee, tea, maize and sugarcane in the name of avocado,” he said.

“Switching is acceptance of failure and is a recipe of worst failure.”

Maina proposed to farmers instead grow at least two to four crops per year to put back the countries traditional crops to where they were.

"On coffee, it used to be our major contributors in GDP. The goodness with coffee is that it is most sought after commodity after oil," he told the star.

This is a very dangerous situation in society and all efforts must be done to reverse the trend, he said.