Poultry imports slowly crippling local farmers

Eggs among imports that are affecting young farmers

Stakeholders of the Kenyan poultry and animal feeds industry registered their worries, about poultry imports into the country.

Officials from the Kenya Poultry Breeders Association, Kenya Poultry Farmers Association and Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers, felt that the government had failed to consider current production from local farmers when allowing poultry imports, and this has resulted in the current poultry glut.

Farmers are currently selling their produce at Kshs200 per kilogram down from Kshs 250 per kilogram because of cheaper imports.

To that effect, the farmers have reduced the numbers of eggs going into their hatcheries, and are offloading the excess for the table.

Continued importation of poultry products, is likely to push farmers out of business, and the ripple effect, will be felt in the livelihoods of those edged out, most of whom are women.

While the local poultry  industry may have a regional export presence, within the East African tariff, successful international competitiveness is lacking.

Imports (sporadic or consistent) by people who have not meaningfully invested in the industry, are not driven by absence of local supply or availability, but by profiteering.

For this reason, trade between Kenya and overseas countries must be evaluated by whether it contributes to global goals such as food security and sovereignty, creation of jobs, reduction of poverty and inequality.

Balance of trade should be looked at, with the cognizance of the interests of trading partners, in the spirit of World Trade Organization (WTO), of basic national agricultural growth and proliferation.

However the stakeholders feel, that the Ministry of Agriculture  Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation can help sort out some hitches, which prevent growth of livestock ventures, such as the periodic shortage of raw materials for feeds.

They also recommended the following:

The government should set agricultural policies, to attract foreign investors, and  raise tariffs on competing imports.

Feed millers should be given a longer period to import duty free yellow corn, and allowed to access raw materials for the feed sector, at global cost.

Review should be done of the restriction on planting yellow maize in areas with white maize.

GMO corn, widely used around the world, should be viewed positively in Kenya

Farmers should be encouraged to grow soya beans, sunflower, sorghum , millet ,cassava through contract farming.

Maize value chain should be stream lined, to encourage farmers to embrace the crop.

The County governments could build cold storage facilities, and hire them to investors ,who would preserve the perishable products for farmers at a cost. They could also establish cleaning and drying facilities, for cereals to curb post harvest wastage.

Farmers should  be assisted to access friendly loans, to expand the flock /herd sizes, which reduces unit costs of production.

A working relationship between the Directorate of Veterinary Services and Director of  Livestock ,can also help address issues affecting the livestock industry and capture field data for forward planning.

If the above proposals would be embraced, farmers will benefit from cheaper feed formulation inputs and consumers will enjoy a constant supply of good quality, cheaper  products.


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