Poultry farmers protest chicken dumping by local producers
Local poultry farmers are protesting the dumping of chicken by local producer citing job losses, loss of revenue and threat to the human health consumption.
Speaking at a press conference in Thika, Kiambu Poultry Farmers’ Cooperative Society Secretary General, Zack Munyambu who accused Farmers Choice of dumping.
He revealed that, the company, which is in Kiambu County is not buying from the local farmers but opting for cheap processed chicken from Uganda. “We have documents that show that this company is buying 1kg chicken at KES 260, and in the past two weeks they have imported over 20 tonnes and planning to import more as the festive season begins. This cost is below the production cost of chicken in Kenya and Uganda. Kenya farmers are selling 1kg processed chicken at KES 330, while Ugandan farmers are selling at KES300. This disproportion has raised suspicions on the type of product the producer is buying. We have no doubt that the producer is importing frozen chicken, which is unsafe for human consumption,” said Mr. Munyambu.
The Uganda based exporter Yokuku ltd is selling chicken to customers in Kampala factory shop at an equivalent of KES370 per kilogram, “how possible is it to export the same chicken to Kenya at KES 260, such a low price could only mean dumping and or injected chicken,” Munyambu explained.
Kenya Poultry Farmers Association, Secretary General Humphrey Mbugua, confirmed that there is plenty of chicken in the country and farmers are producing at full capacity. “Currently, we have over 400 tonnes in farmers stores. We don’t have any shortage to warrant producers to purchase chicken outside. Farmers can comfortably satisfy the market.”
Arthur Kamau, a smallholder farmer and owner of Kuki Poultry, said the investigation of dumping duties was good news for smallholder farmers.
“We are already struggling to make ends meet because of rising input costs, with feed prices alone increasing four times since the start of the year. Having to compete with dumped chicken it is making it more difficult for us,” he said.
The cost of making animal feeds has been on the rise, forcing up to 20 manufacturers to close shop amid low demand from farmers due to pricing.
The cost of items such as soya meal, which is normally imported from countries like Malawi, Zambia and Uganda have gone up.
The Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufacturers in February said the price of soya, which is the most expensive of the supplements used in making animal feeds, went up to Sh83 from Sh53 at the beginning of December last year.
The 57 percent jump in price of soya is the biggest in the last two years with the cost of production becoming unbearable to some of the millers who have had to shut their businesses as they cannot sustain the ever-rising cost of material.
The cost of animal feeds has subsequently gone up across all the meal types, which are now retailing at an average of Sh100 more than the previous cost.
The cost of a 70-kilogramme bag of chick mash has risen from Sh3,250 to Sh4,200.
This move has hit farmers as the price of eggs has so far dropped from a high of Sh360 a tray early in the year to Sh340.
This implies that the producers are struggling with lower margins, making it difficult to continue with the business.