• Farmers are currently selling a mature broiler chicken at between Sh480-Sh550.
• The cost of production is between Sh400-Sh420 per bird so farmers make about Sh50 from one bird.
You may not be able to enjoy your favourite chicken at Nairobi eateries after poultry farmers threatened to quit business following a new row with state authorities.
The government through the Directorate of Public Health last week issued an alert raising concerns on the safety of the delicacy, saying most chicken sold are not inspected.
But poultry farmers are angry at the alert saying there was no data provided to show that people have been reported sick due to consumption of chicken from the city eateries which they supply.
In the memo issued on November 6, Director of Veterinary Services Dr Obadiah Njagi noted with concern the increase in sale of uninspected chicken meat in food outlets in Nairobi and major urban centres across the country.
“This meat is sourced mainly from the broiler chicken farmers who slaughter the chicken in their backyard and transport the meat to the hotels and other eateries,” he said.
This is contrary to the Meat Control Act, which states that food animals should only be slaughtered under the supervision of an inspecting officer.
Njagi said meat should only be transported in licensed meat containers.
They should be accompanied with the requisite meat transport documents indicating the source slaughterhouse of the meat and the destination among other important details.
But Broiler World Cooperative chairman Buketi Wafula said he will be meeting with the Kiambu county director of vets to discuss the landscape of broiler farming, so that the government can advise on the way forward.
While speaking to the Star during an interview, Wafula assured Nairobi residents and other consumers that farmers are responsible people and cannot sell unsafe poultry meat to consumers.
He said the value chain supports many people and this alert may create panic in the general public and fear among poultry farmers.
“Farmers may start abandoning broiler farming for fear of being arrested. This may lead to a shortage in the market and usher in imports into the country,” Wafula said.
He said the value chain also supports many people including the young men who slaughter the chicken for their daily income.
“There is a whole ecosystem that is self-propelling and if you mess up one area especially the farmer, many people will be affected including those providing feed and one-day old chicks, just to mention a few,” he said.
Wafula said the government should provide chicken slaughterhouses like it is with livestock.
"There are only private chicken slaughterhouses that are not within the reach of most small-scale poultry farmers," he said.
Wafula also said the government should instead go to inspect where farmers are slaughtering their birds, since some of the farmers have been in the business for many years and there have been no complaints.
“Some of the broiler cooperative members are old guard who have been in the poultry business since 2010. I have been doing broiler farming since 2016 and I have not heard any issues so far,” he said.
In the memo, Njagi had stated that such malpractice expose the consumer to unhygienic meat and meat products which acts as the source of spread of harmful microorganism drug residues and other contaminants thereby endangering their health.
He told county Director of Veterinary Services to enhance surveillance activities to bring this food safety menace under control.
“You should also work in close cooperation with other stakeholders in food safety including the law enforcement agencies to ensure perpetrators of these illegal activities are dealt with according to the law,” Njagi said.
Wafula said the cooperative has more than 200 members and the majority are from Kiambu and Kajiado counties.
Most of the chicken consumed in many eateries in Nairobi come from Kajiado, Kiambu, Nairobi, Machakos, Murang’a, Nyeri and Embu counties.
Farmers are currently selling a mature broiler chicken at between Sh480-Sh550.
Wafula said the cost of production is between Sh400-Sh420 per bird so farmers make about Sh50 from one bird.