Poultry products: exporters lose billions

Although no detections of highly pathogenic avian influenza have been recorded in Uganda for months now, the toll the virus has taken on the poultry and egg industry is worrying.
Five months after the government slapped a ban on exporting poultry products to some countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, exporters and farmers continue to make losses.
According to Aga Ssekalala, the chairperson Uganda Poultry Farmers Association, poultry exporters have registered a loss of Shs125 billion since January when the ban was imposed.
“Since the ban was declared, we have been registering losses and some of our members have been forced to close their businesses and other laid off workers,” Ssekalala said during a telephone interview recently.
Ssekalala said on average, members in the association lose Shs25 billion monthly, adding that even small scale farmers have registered huge losses too.
Christopher Jjunju, small scale poultry farmer in Masaka Municipality told Daily Monitor that he does not have market for his eggs.

“Exporters were our best customers and there was a ready market for eggs, but ever since they stopped exporting eggs to Rwanda, our business has been crippled,” Jjunju said.
When asked on the allegation about some exporters who are reportedly smuggling their products out of the country, Ssekalala distance himself and the association from such acts, saying that “If smuggling exists, it is done at individual level and as an association, we cannot be held responsible for such.”
According to Ministry of Agriculture statistics, Uganda exported 32.6 tonnes of dressed chicken and turkey while three million eggs were exported in 2015.

Bakground. In January, dead white-winged black tern birds were discovered at Lutembe beach on the shores of Lake Victoria and at Bukakkata landing site in Masaka District. The birds were suspected to be been killed by Avian Influenza. After a few weeks, government announced that they had controlled the spread of this viral disease.