Kenyan farmers petition own govt against Uganda’s poultry exports

Flooded: Kenyan farmers say their market is flooded by imports from Uganda. PHOTO BY EDGAR R BATTE

What you need to know:

Cheap imported chicken. Kenyan farmers claim that the imported Ugandan chicken is sold cheaper than the one which is produced by the country’s farmers.

Kenyan poultry farmers have petitioned their government to protect them against Uganda’s cheap poultry and related products.
In June last year, Kenya lifted a two-year ban on Ugandan poultry and related products following a bilateral agreement that resolved that Kenya allows in Ugandan poultry products in exchange for its beef.
However, in a petition authored by the Kenya Poultry Breeders Association, the farmers have asked the Kenya Livestock principal secretary Henry Kimutai, to act against what they said was an influx of cheap poultry imports from Uganda.
“We hereby urge 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,” wrote Mr Humphrey Mbugua, the chairperson of Kenya Poultry Breeders Association in a March 18 letter, noting that processed chicken from Uganda is sold at Shs9,250 against the local production price of Shs10,730 per kilogramme.
He also alleged that some traders were repackaging poultry products from the US and Turkey to show they originate from Uganda.
“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,” Mr Mbugua said, adding that Uganda was exporting to Kenya between 25 and 40 tonnes per week.
At the weekend, Mr Gideon Badagawa, the Private Sector Foundation Uganda executive director, told Daily Monitor the move was irregular, irresponsible and irritating, especially at a time when the East Africa Community is integrating.
“This actually goes to confirm that Kenya has always simply locked us away from its market not on account of standards but immense competition,” he said.
This comes amid an ongoing trade war in which Kenya has since December last year blocked Uganda’s milk exports from entering its market. Mr Aga Sekalala Junior, the Poultry Association of Uganda chairman, said the allegations by Kenyan farmers were a familiar cry that offends the spirit of the East African Community integration.

Uganda’s production capacity

According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, in the period between 2014 and 2018, Uganda’s poultry production capacity had reached 42.9 million birds with 87.7 per cent of these being indigenous.
A total of 930 million eggs were produced in the period up from 856 million eggs produced in 2014. The increase indicates a 2.6 per cent rise in eggs in 2018 from 907.1 million in 2017.