Drop in Supply of Eggs in Kenya Pushes Price Up

A view of Kenya’s capital Nairobi

May 16, 2018//-A drop in supply of eggs in Kenya following declined production in the last weeks as a result of prolonged rainy season has led to significant increase in prices.

Prices have risen by between 15 per cent and 20 per cent in the last three weeks as supply remains low amid stifled imports from Uganda.

An egg is currently going for between 0.13 dollars and 0.15 dollars each in retail shops in residential areas in the capital Nairobi, while wholesalers sell a crate of eggs at an average 3.3 dollars from between 2.8 dollars and three dollars.

The increase in price is the first in about three years, as imports have over time been helping to stabilise prices.

Kenya imports millions of eggs from Uganda every year, with costs of the commodity being low in the nation.

The current drop in egg supply in Kenya had been linked to prolonged rainy season, which led to stress resulting from rise in diseases and unfavorable environment for chickens to lay eggs, cutting production.

It has been raining heavily in Kenya in the last two-and-half months, and the rains are to continue until June, according to the Meteorological Department.

The rains killed nearly 180 people, displaced over 300,000 and destroyed roads and other infrastructure in the African country.

According to livestock experts, the rains come with challenges that include diseases and cold weather that affects birds’ wellbeing.

The two factors normally lead to declined production of eggs.

“The most common diseases during the cold season are pneumonia, Newcastle, diarrhea and coccidiosis,” Simon Muriuki, a livestock extension officer in Kiambu, a county bordering the capital, Nairobi, said on Tuesday.

He noted that normally when temperatures are low as it is during the cold season, chickens tend to feed more to generate heat.

“When the birds cannot find enough food, they will stop laying eggs or they will cut production. I believe this is one of the reasons that have affected supply of eggs in the market,” he said.

Muriuki noted that generally, cold conditions cause stress to the birds which affects their production and ability to withstand diseases through the normal body process called immunosuppression.

This in turn leads to reduction in egg production.

Bramwel Museu, a farmer in Kitengela on the outskirts of Nairobi, noted production of his layers has gone down by at least 20 per cent in the last one month.

“I have 180 layers. Before the rains started, my production was 160 to 170 eggs in a day but from mid last month, I have been picking 140 to 150 eggs on a good day. On a bad one, 120,” he said on Thursday.

The farmer attributed the decline mainly to coccidiosis disease, which he has been battling for the last two weeks.

The disease is usually prevalent during the cold season due to chilly conditions that led to damp conditions in the chicken houses.

Simon Omondi, a farmer in Nairobi, ruled out high cost of feeds as the reason for rise in egg prices.

“The cost of feeds remains low at 20 dollars because maize is being imported from Uganda at 15 dollars to 18 dollars per 90kg bag, which is the lowest level it has ever fallen.

The culprit is low supply of eggs amid high demand,” he said.

Consumers are already feeling the pinch as many turn to eggs as an alternative to red meat which is expensive.

“I have been used to buying eggs at 0.10 dollars that the current 0.13 dollars does not make sense to me. I have not eaten eggs for the last two weeks,” said Mary Mwenese, a clothes seller in Nairobi.

Kenya has some 50 million chickens of various varieties, according to the ministry of agriculture.

However, 75 per cent of the birds are free-range and of the indigenous varieties as the bulk of farmers keep them for prestige rather than commercial purposes.

Broilers and layers make one per cent of the population, while poultry species like ducks, geese, turkeys, pigeons, ostriches, guinea fowls and quails make two per cent.

With the rainy season, the free-ranged birds are hard hit by diseases since they are not protected from the vagaries of bad weather.

But the trend is changing as a good number of farmers embrace improved chicken breeds like Kuroiler, Kenbro and Rainbow Rooster.

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