If it was in her powers, Beatrice Muthui, a farmer in Kahawa, a residential suburb in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, would have sold all her 450 layers of eggs and changed her business or quit farming all-together.

The wholesale prices of a crate of eggs have dropped to an all-time low of 180 Kenyan shillings (1.78 U.S. dollars) in January from 2.17 dollars last December, while retailers are selling an egg at 0.07 dollar.

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.

Many Kenyan farmers blame the imports, mainly from Uganda and also South Africa, for pushing up the wholesale prices.

“Many farmers have sold their birds for slaughter. I choose to hang on and shout my cries to the government to see if they would listen,” wrote Muthui on Sunday on Twitter as she tagged the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and the minister Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Other farmers did the same in the campaign that has been gathering pace in the last weeks and roped in consumers as egg prices decline.

“So now Ugandan eggs have flooded the market that I am forced to sell a tray of eggs at 2 dollars, the best price I can get, from 2.7 dollars. What kind of business is this?” lamented Mjay Wambui.

“Feed prices are skyrocketing and raw materials are getting scarcer, why? And the market is not friendly,” she added.

However, some consumers noted that the government is not to blame for the problem since the East African community is a single market.

“Sorry about the declining fortune but in this day and age of economic integration, the government can do little to restrict imports. There are also things Ugandan farmers are crying about – originating from Kenya,” said Mathew Mugure.

Antony Angote, a youthful farmer in Kitengela on the outskirts of Nairobi, said Monday that the Kenyan egg industry is facing a crisis due to lack of market for local products amid high costs of production.

Saddled by low egg prices, the farmer last year changed his business strategy and started to keep some 100 Kienyeji birds, and he is now selling fertilized eggs to farmers at 0.19 dollars each, a business that he said is better.

Farmers are further formulating their own feed rations in bid to cut costs and make the poultry business profitable.

Felix Akatch, a livestock production expert from Egerton University, noted that the Kenyan poultry industry is facing a two-pronged crisis, one is high imports and second is sale of fake eggs.

“Ugandan eggs are cheaper because the cost of feeds is low in the country. The Ugandan government does not tax chicken feed making materials like sunflower or cotton cake which gives their farmers an edge,” he said.

“The fake egg problem has worsened the plight of farmers because the products are spoiling the market, denying producers money, at the same time risking health of consumers,” he said. Enditem



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