The price of day-old chicks has risen by 32.8 per cent after the government imposed a 25 per cent tax on imported fertilised eggs from July 1, 2021.
The price of a chick has gone from Sh64 in June to Sh85 currently, forcing layer and broiler farmers to dig deeper into their pockets despite depressed sales and higher feed prices.
Kenya introduced the duty to protect its poultry farmers amid flooding of imported cheap eggs from neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Tanzania.
Local producers were already battling reduced sales on supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19.
“Currently, a chick is selling at Sh85, which directly increases the cost of production,” Kuki Poultry Farm chief executive officer Arthur Kimani said.
Hatchers rely on imported fertilised eggs for chick production to close a local deficit, but production has gone down in recent months in response to lower demand from farmers.
For instance, weekly production of day-old chicks dropped by 28.57 per cent to one million in August from an average of 1.4 million per week previously, according to the Kenya Poultry Breeders Association (KPBA).
“The breeders have depleted their egg banks. We require 450,000 eggs per week. We get the hatching eggs from Turkey because we do not have enough parent eggs in the country and East Africa Community, due to Covid-19,” the KPBA said.
Other than the higher cost of chicks, farmers are also grappling with higher feed prices that area result in a shortage of raw materials.
The price of a 70-kilogramme bag of chick marsh is retailing at Sh4,200 from Sh3,250 last year, while layers marsh is now selling at Sh3,800 from Sh3,100.
Animal feed manufacturers last week asked the Ministry of Agriculture to consider the importation of GMO yellow maize and Soya beans as one of the options for addressing the high cost of feed, but the government has instead promised to look at reviewing the duty on raw material.