August 29, 2011
Feed scarcity hurt Uganda's poultry sector
The shortage of poultry feeds in Uganda, such as corn bran, rice bran, cotton seed cake and wheat bran, has taken a hard toll on the country's poultry sector, driving some producers out of business.
Esther Genza, an employee at Kagodo Feeds, says the industry's biggest challenge has been the scarcity of maize and maize bran. "It is very hard to increase the price of a tray of eggs or chicken because the market response is poor. Few people buy at higher prices," she says.
In a week, Sam Mukasa, Director of Biyinzika Farmers, one of the leading poultry farm enterprises in the country, would on average sell 400,000 day-old chicks. But today, he's resorted to selling eggs for the chicks are no more, resulting in a loss of up to UGX2.4 billion (US$849,512) between June 1, and the end of the first week of last month.
"Instead of hatching chicks for sale, I sell the eggs at a lower price. The rising dollar rate continues to affect me because I have to import vaccines and yet the loans that we get are serviced in dollars. This is in addition to operational costs. With the constant power black outs we have to use generators and diesel isn't cheap," Mukasa explains.
As a way forward, says some farmers have resorted to selling off the birds at giveaway prices especially the layers because they cannot afford the cost of maintenance, with other farmers actually exchanging eggs for feeds.
In some situations farmers have opted out of the business citing tough conditions with some venturing into piggeries as an alternative.