Kenyan farmers protest discounted ‘Ugandan’ poultry

Kenyan poultry farmers have protested an influx of hugely discounted poultry imports from Uganda. FILE PHOTO | NMG Kenyan poultry farmers have protested an influx of hugely discounted poultry imports including suspected transshipment alleged to be from Uganda.

In a letter addressed to Livestock principal secretary Henry Kimutai, the farmers’ lobby is now demanding government protection against the cheap imports.

The Kenya Poultry Breeders Association chairman Humphrey Mbugua said the imports threaten to push them out of business. The association called on the government to intervene to avert job and tax revenue losses as well as prevent waning relevance of local food supplies in regional markets.

“We hereby urge the government to consider the plight of Kenyan farmers, employees and the economy as a whole by restricting chicken imports from Uganda as this is going to destabilise the industry and economy as a whole,” said Mr Mbugua in the letter dated March 18.

Mr Mbugua cited processed chicken from Uganda that has flooded the market at nearly half price. He said chicken is imported and sold at Ksh250 ($2.50) against a local production cost of Ksh290 ($2.90) a kilo.

He said unscrupulous traders were repackaging poultry products from the US and Turkey to show they originate from Uganda, to take advantage of the fast growing local market.

“These challenges have made it hard for our farmers to grow chicken because they cannot compete with ‘Ugandan’ imports, because they are way cheaper than locally produced chicken,” said Mr Mbugua.

The Livestock PS did not respond to our on queries by press time. Mr Mbugua said in the last month some local farmers have abandoned poultry farming due to the high cost of animal feeds, poultry farming equipment and loss of market compounded by the cheaper imports.

He said processed chicken is being imported from Uganda in quantities of between 25 and 40 tonnes a week.

Mr Mbugua added animal feed in the market accounts for up to 70 per cent of poultry production costs.

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