Chicken or the egg, which one will you afford? Kenyans' plight as prices rise

Collected eggs stacked and ready for storage.  FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Poultry farmers have been hit by the high cost of feeds on the market, which has pushed some out of business.

Consequently, the cost of eggs and live chicken has gone up amid a countrywide shortage of feeds.

A spot-check in Eldoret and parts of the North Rift region shows that a single egg retails between Sh15 and Sh25. A tray of eggs now retails between Sh600 and Sh650, up from Sh300 and Sh350 some months ago due to the high cost of production.

“The cost of feeds has gone up since last October. We noticed that there is a scarcity of feeds. Some are opting for cheaper feeds or formulate their own at home,” Margaret Alegwa, a poultry farmer on the outskirts of Eldoret town said.

Some farmers complain that the cost of feeds has pushed them to reduce the number of their flock.

The price of a 70-kilogram bag of layers’ marsh is retailing at Sh4,500 from Sh3,800 last April. Chick mash is going for Sh4,940 from Sh4,200, while the dairy meal is selling at Sh2,850 from Sh2,500.

“In our chama, members used to own over 200 birds but now each member has 100 or 50 birds. Some don’t have them because of this scarcity of feeds. The cost of chick mash is Sh3,650 per 50 kg, from Sh3,100 which makes farmers opt for alternatives,” Ms Alegwa said.

Mr Zachary Munyambu, a member of the Kiambu Farmers Co-operatives Society said that farmers have reduced the number of birds by 60 percent due to the high cost of feeds.

"Farmers who had 1,000 birds now have about 400 because of the cost of feeds. We want to appeal to the government to ensure raw materials are available to manufacture feeds," explained the farmer.

He stated that the cooperative society registered with 700 members now has about 100 active members as more farmers have been pushed out of business.

The farmers now seek the government’s intervention to ensure the availability of raw materials used to manufacture feeds.

Consumers are paying more for eggs as the price of the commodity shot to a high of Sh450 a tray from Sh380 in November, amid scarcity and expensive imports from Uganda.

The sharp rise in cost has been attributed to a scarcity in production due to rising demand from consumers.

This week, Kenya Poultry Farmers Association told Business Daily that the shortage had been occasioned by the high cost of feed in the last two years and a rebound in demand after the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had impacted negatively on purchasing power.