Costly Chicken Feed Hurting Poultry Industry

UGANDA - Scarcity of food in the region has had a negative impact on the poultry industry culminating into increased in prices of chicken on the market.
calendar icon 3 December 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

“A year ago a kilogramme of chicken was Ush6, 000 (about $3.1) but now it costs $4.7,” Immaculate Nabatte, the sales manager Ugachick, Uganda's leading poultry breeders told East African Business Week in an interview.

On the local market, one local chicken breed currently costs about $13.

Ms Nabatte said that the scarcity of grains has been aggravated by the export of unprocessed grains which denies the industry the opportunity to get chicken feeds.

“For the poultry industry to grow more I think the government should come up with some kind of regulation to encourage people to export processed grains such that the bi-products can be used as chicken feeds,” she said.

According to the 2008 National Livestock Census carried out by Uganda's Ministry of Agriculture in conjunction with Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the national chicken flock was estimated to be 37.4million.

The poultry industry currently employs thousands of Ugandans both indirectly and directly such as grain farmers and fishermen who supply local fish species commonly known as Mukene that is a major ingredient in the feed and a source of proteins for the chicken.

Information availed by Ugachick that controls over 60 per cent of total number of exotic birds produced in the country indicates that Tanzania is the leading consumer of day-old chicks while Rwanda is the largest consumer of ready-for-consumption dressed chicken. About 25 per cent of the chicken produced in Uganda is exported and the rest is consumed locally, with households leading in consumption.

Joseph Muguluma, the Treasurer of the Poultry Association of Uganda told East African Business Week that the biggest market for Ugandan eggs is Southern Sudan.

He also noted that large scale poultry farmers need to seriously consider growing their own maize if the industry is to survive and benefit them.

“The high prices of grains are posing a big challenge to the poultry industry in Uganda yet consumers do not expect chicken prices to go up,” said Mr Muguluma.

He said that whereas a farmer spends not less than UShs5, 000 ($2.5) in looking after one chicken, the consumer also wants to buy it at $2.5. Mr Muguluma said most poultry farmers in Uganda do it on a small scale with many rearing between 500 to 1000 chicken.

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