Poultry farmers have demanded the scrapping of taxes on feed supplements before Kenya opens its market to Uganda’s products in yet another signal of deepening trade disputes between the two countries.
The farmers maintain that the high cost of production in Kenya, coupled with the 16 per cent value added tax on supplements, has made it impossible to compete with products from Uganda, which is also the source of nearly all the feed supplements.
Kenya Poultry Farmers Association chairperson Wairimu Kariuki said eggs and chicken would be uncompetitive in the local market if the Ugandan products are permitted in the country.
“There is no way that the eggs and chicken produced by our farmers can compete with those from Uganda. It costs very little in that country to rear chicken as well as to produce eggs, while our cost of production is extremely high,” said Ms Wairimu.
Uganda is Kenya’s top export market. The pressure on government to lock out Ugandan chicken products is set to deepen market wars with the landlocked neighbour whose sugar imports have also raised eyebrows in the local market.
Kenyan millers have accused their Uganda counterparts of abusing the free trade agreement to repackage imports from South America for re-export.
“There is absolutely no way sugar produced in Uganda and transported into the country is being offered for sale below Sh4,000 per 50kg bag,” says Saul Wasilwa, managing director of Nzoia Sugar Company.
Likewise, says Ms Wairimu, a tray of eggs cost Sh280 to produce in Kenya, while the same quantity imported from Uganda is selling at Sh200 in the country even after absorbing transport and logistics costs.
Poultry feeds are mainly manufactured from white maize, but key supplements such as the cotton, soya and the sunflower cakes have to be imported from Uganda, which makes the feeds more expensive.