Commodities

Egg prices jump 25pc on taxation

kisumu

Workers loading eggs in a car. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Consumers are paying more for eggs after Kenya imposed a 25 percent excise duty on the commodity, cutting the supply amid rising demand.

Kenya normally relies on cheap eggs from Uganda to check against high prices locally. However, the recent move by Nairobi to impose duty has seen most traders shy from importing the product.

A tray of eggs has jumped from Sh360 two weeks ago to now retail at between Sh420 and Sh450 in what traders have attributed to shortages.

“We are not getting enough eggs at the moment and we have been told by our suppliers that there is a shortage in supply from Uganda,” said James Ng’ang’a, a trader at the Maziwa eggs market in Nairobi.

In April, a court issued an interim order restraining the government from collecting or imposing taxes on table eggs imported from Uganda after a lobby — Eggs Traders Association of Kenya — moved to court challenging the implementation.

Traders said, however, this order has not been obeyed.

Eggs production locally had improved in April but declined again last month on the back of expensive feeds that has seen farmers cut down on their stocks.

Farmers have also reduced the rations given to their birds and this has had a negative impact on the production of eggs.

The current average cost of a 70-kilogramme bag of layers mash is Sh4,000 from Sh3,200, last year, the highest price that has been witnessed in the country.

The new duty comes as a blow to the December bilateral talks that had resolved a long-standing dispute on the export of poultry products to Kenya, which saw Nairobi lift all the restrictions that had been put in place.

The new trade tiff comes at a time the two countries are yet to resolve a long-standing dispute on milk after Kenya barred Uganda’s dairy products in 2019.

According to the Poultry Association of Uganda, their members usually export more than 500,000 trays per month, mainly to Kenya, South DR Congo, and South Sudan.

Uganda has more than 30 big and medium farms with a three million layers population countrywide with Kenya standing out as the key market for their poultry products.

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