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Relief for Farmers as Feed Prices Drop

by 5m Editor
1 August 2011, at 9:44am

UGANDA - Poultry feed prices have fallen back slightly after last month's dramatic increase.

Poultry feeds prices have reduced after an unprecedented increment by more than 100 per cent a month ago, reports East African Business Week.

The huge rise in the prices from 600 shillings (UGS; 23 US cents) per kilogramme of maize bran, the main ingredient in the chicken feed, to a high of UGS1,800 (69 US Cents) per kilogramme saw frustrated farmers sell off immature birds to stave losses.

In Matugga, 10 miles north of Kampala, Edith Mukalazi is a poultry farmer who has been in this business for 20 years. She lost more than 1,000 birds at the height of the chicken feeds crisis, as she could not afford the maize bran price.

Like Mrs Mukalazi, many poultry farmers sold off their immature birds while others gave up on poultry farming a few months ago due to high feeds prices.

On top of the prices shooting up, maize bran was scarce.

The price of maize bran rose from 23 US cents to UGS1,800 per kilogramme. Feeds dealers attributed the high prices to export of unprocessed maize to neighboring countries like South Sudan and Kenya.

Farmers' organisations like the Association of Uganda Poultry Farmers (AUPL) joined the struggle to advocate for a price cut.

Efforts have indeed yielded fruit as the price of maize bran has dropped 23 US cents.

The price hike has taught many farmers a lesson as many have vowed to stock feeds while others have resolved to grow maize themselves.

William Tukwasibwe, a poultry farmer in Kawempe, five miles north of Kampala, told East African Business Week: "I had purchased feeds for five weeks hoping to be on a safer side but the price rise took longer so I am more prepared and hope to buy in bulk with the reduced prices."

Mr Tukwasibwe, a farmer who majors in layers says he reached an extent of selling off the birds but was only let down by failure to access the customers at the price he set.

"The birds are resuming their normal laying patterns and hopefully, within one month, my earnings will have stabilized," he explained.

An employee with Maganjo Grain Millers only identified as Fred said he was relieved the prices of maize bran had gone down. "Some of our customers have been blaming us for increasing prices saying we were taking advantage of them but at least they know it was not us but some other factors were responsible for this," he said.