Prices of eggs, chicken tank as pandemic bites

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Trays of eggs.

FOOD:  Mountains of egg hatcheries and broiler meat have been piling up in stores and freezers in the three months since the government imposed a Covid-19 induced lockdown that has limited movement as a measure to mitigate the spread of the virus.

As Kenyan businesses plan to re-open, they have to work out how to clear the stock, with options of either keeping the products in freezers, or offloading them through boot-sales at throw away prices.

Though none of the options are ideal, however, they will be viewed by farmers as damage limitation.

A spot check by Business Hub in estates and even the expansive Gikomba Market established that a crate of eggs is now retailing at Sh300, down from Sh390 before March when the virus was first detected in the country.

Innovative sales

“There is a surplus of eggs in the market. People who rear layers are now selling from their car boots at lower prices, forcing us to also adjust our prices,” said Totona Olamaiyani, who owns a corner shop in Nairobi’s Harambee Estate.

Covid-19 restrictions have shrunk the market place as hotels, restaurants and institutional buyers, where farmers sell most of their poultry products, close. 

With the disruption of market linkages, they have had no option but invent other methods of selling their products, including boot-sales.

According to the Federation of Kenya Poultry Farmers (FKPF), the situation has been compounded further by importations, especially of processed meat from Kenya’s neighbours, which if not checked, will result in massive financial losses for farmers.

In a letter to the Department of Veterinary Services, and Department of Livestock Production, FKPF said the local market was flooded with broilers.

Monica Wanjiru, the president of Federation of Poultry Farmers said Kenya had a surplus of 253 days in chicken inventory, adding that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the projected supply for poultry products will be good to last until the second half of 2021.

Wanjiru said as at May 20, the inventory for dressed chicken frozen inventory stood at 71.86 million kilogrammes.

“In order to preserve the remaining production potential for 2020, the importation of poultry meat and products must cease as soon as possible so that the industry, especially those at the breeder stage of the value chain, can hold on until times are less volatile,” she said.

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