The prospect of reopening Kenya’s economy is steadily causing a rise in food prices as western Kenya residents pay more for chicken and eggs.
Abisai Nandi, a poultry farmer in Kisumu, attributed the spike in prices to several hotels and restaurants resuming operations after months of closure to contain the spread of Covid-19.
A spot check by the Business Daily on Thursday established that most outlets sold a crate of eggs at Sh350 from between Sh280 and Sh300 last week while a 1.2 kilogramme of broiler sold at Sh500 from Sh400 as traditional chicken shot up by Sh200 to Sh800 in the same duration.
“In anticipation that the government is likely to lift the current restrictions and lockdown in Nairobi next week, most hotels have started placing their orders, creating a huge demand for the products,” he said.
Mr Nandi said western Kenya, which is mostly supplied by farmers from Naivasha and Nakuru, is now forced to look inwards following the closure of Kenya-Uganda border.
Western Kenya has been relying on Uganda to bridge a huge supply deficit of chicken and eggs but since the closure of the border, dealers have had to struggle to find supplies.
Unlike their Ugandan counterparts, Mr Nandi pointed out, that Kenyan poultry farmers do not enjoy subsidies that lower the cost of inputs such as feeds, making their production expenses higher resulting in expensive products for the consumers.
When Kenya announced its first confirmed Covid-19 case, a majority of chicken farmers experienced huge losses after hotels closed suddenly.
“The uncertain event caused most farmers to stop rearing chicks for meat and eggs while the few available are now being shared with hoteliers who are making a comeback after months of being out of business,” said Mr Nandi.
He cautioned that the prices could further increase in the coming weeks due to a shortage of chicken.
The proprietor of Chicken Basket farm says he currently has an order of about 10,000 chickens, which he is yet to supply.
He appealed to the government to provide financial support to poultry farmers to enhance their capacity to produce more chicken as a way of boosting food security.