EGGS: Kenya’s increase in supply spells doom to Ugandan farmers
Kampala, Uganda | PATRICIA AKANKWATSA | Ugandan farmers are suffering losses from falling egg prices due to lost market opportunities in the region and high feed costs.
Farmers and traders that spoke to The Independent said a tray of eggs now goes for between Shs 6,000 to Shs 7,500 compared with between Shs 10,000 to Shs 12,000 in October last year.
The egg dealers said the increase in egg production in its key market, Kenya, has led to a reduction in demand for the country’s eggs amidst a surging cost of production.
“Approximately 60% of the eggs produced in Uganda are exported to Kenya and now Kenya is also producing eggs on a large scale,” said Aga Sekalala, the Executive Director, Ugachick in an interview with The Independent.
“That leaves us with no market as demand is fixed. That is why the egg prices had to be cut.”
He said there is need for government to boost tourism as tourists have a culture of consuming more eggs than the local population. “Tourists can make a good market for the eggs here,” he said.
However, the price of poultry feed has gone up following a shrinkage in supply according to 256 businessnews.com.
Maize prices have moved up from Shs300 to Shs650 for a kilogram in recent weeks feeding into prices for maize bran which is now retailing at Shs720 from Shs500 per kilogram previously.
Soybean is currently trading at Shs2400 up from Shs1, 000 while prices for Sesame have reached Shs4, 500 at farm gate. Prices now are expected to peak off in May on the limb of the first harvest for 2019.
Prices for cereals crashed following a bumper harvest last year as farmers who were running out of storage were forced to dump the May – July crop. Also, farmers discouraged by the poor prices planted less resulting into a lower harvest in December.
This is the second time that farmers are experiencing a sharp drop in egg prices in nearly four years. In 2015, a tray of eggs was selling at Shs 6,400 and Shs6, 500 per 30-egg tray in Kampala, and an average of Shs 7,000 outside the city — down from Shs 7,500 and Shs 8,000.
Data from Uganda Bureau of Statistics shows that the country’s egg production has increased from 831.9million in 2013 to 907.1million in 2017. However, data for egg production in 2018 remains scanty.
Dr. Okoth Ochola, the executive director at Asiima Agriculture Concern Limited said the inadequate regional market coupled with the conflict in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo has placed farmers in a big fix.
This development comes as Kenya retains its January 2017 ban on poultry from Uganda, even though Kampala had contained the avian flu outbreak by March 2017.This contravenes the East African Community rules, which provide for the free movement of goods and services within the region.
The east African nation, however, has opened the window for only three major firms – Hudani Manji Holdings Rainbow, SR Afrochick and Kukuchick.
Dr. Doris Kiconco, Uganda’s assistant commissioner of veterinary regulation and enforcement told The Independent that they have written numerous letters requesting that the ban is officially lifted.
However, the Kenyan officials have never responded to the requests, she said.
Situation not a blessing to Kenyan farmers
This current situation, however, seem not to be a blessing to Kenyan farmers who have advocated for a ban of egg imports from Uganda citing increased competition and losses.
The wholesale prices of a tray of eggs have dropped to an all-time low of Ksh180 in January from Kshs217 last December, while retailers are selling an egg at Ksh7.
It is the lowest price an egg has ever gone for in the East African nation in more than a decade, with farmers feeling the pinch as costs of production rise, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
Going forward Dr. Okoth says the local population needs to be sensitized about the health benefits of consuming eggs. “This would increase local market and demand,” he said.