NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
As the December holiday season slowly sets in,
many poultry farmers in Kenya had hoped to cash in on the
growing demand for their products, thanks to festivities.
However, while the
farmers are assured of booming business for poultry meat, a
surge in egg imports from mainly the neighboring Uganda has
pushed prices to an all-time low.
A tray of 30 eggs in
the east African nation is currently retailing at a low of 230
Kenyan shillings (2.25 U.S. dollars) in some regions, down from
2.9 dollars months ago.
“This is painful. It
does not make business sense to sell a tray of eggs at 2.25
dollars yet production costs are too high,” Antony Angote, a
farmer in Kitengela on the outskirts of Nairobi, said Tuesday.
According to him,
there is a huge glut of eggs in the market following increased
importation from Uganda, where production costs are lower. Some
eggs sold in the east African nation, however, are shipped from
as far as South Africa.
A tray of eggs at
wholesale price in the suburb and others bordering Nairobi goes
for between 2.35 dollars and 2.45 dollars.
In Kiambu, Wangige
and Athi River, also on the fringes of Nairobi, the cost of a
tray of eggs is at an average low of 2.35 dollars. Things are
not any different in Kenya’s other towns that include Kisumu,
Mombasa and Nakuru, where there is a glut of egg.
“This has been the
average price for the last three months and I do not see things
improving even with Christmas just around the corner,” he
Small farmers like
Angote, who keeps some 400 birds, have borne the brunt of the
egg glut, with the farmer saying he is waiting to dispose of the
Kienyeji (traditional) birds during Christmas and switch to
broilers, which mature faster.
The town that
borders Uganda is among the worst hit, with farmers in the
region abandoning the keeping layers as consumers easily gets
Some farmers have
blamed the increased egg importation to lack of control at
borders, which has seen unscrupulous traders dump millions of
eggs into the Kenyans market.
Vincent Munywoki, an
agronomist in Kiambu, noted that production costs in Uganda and
countries like South Africa are much lower, making their eggs
cheaper in the Kenyan market despite being shipped from far.
“What is making
things harder for Kenyan farmers in terms of production costs is
that the price of feeds is too high. One of the ingredients used
in making the feeds is maize, and since the grain is human food
- a staple for that matter - this results in competition pushing
up prices,” he said.
He noted that one
way out of the crisis is for farmers to embrace value addition,
by making egg powder that prolongs the shelf-life and the eggs
can also be used in cosmetic industry for making shampoo.
Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturer managing director
Humphrey Mbugua, Kenyan farmers are facing stiffest competition
from meat and egg imports, with the former coming from as far as
the United States.