Shortage of animal feeds has sparked an increase in costs of chicken and losses among farmers.
Among the most affected businesses are the smallholder poultry farmers whose animal feeds are 70 per cent mixed by imported maize, which was mainly coming from Uganda. However, border restrictions that started last year due to strained relationship between Uganda and Rwanda has led to shortage of maize.
Farmers who talked to Rwanda Today say even locally produced chicken feeds are scarce and expensive.
Louise Mukamurenzi, a small-sized poultry farmer, last month sold out all her 1,000 chicken and ditched chicken farming altogether on grounds that the expenses she was incurring were making her business a loss-making venture.
Animal feeds supplies have been partly hampered by the border closure with Uganda, which played a big role as the main source of the grains that utilised for blending the feeds.
According to the farmers, the government released some 3, 000 tonnes of maize from the strategic reservoir to bridge the gap, leading a drop for a while before the prices shot up again.
Andrew Butare, chairperson of the Rwanda Poultry Industry Association, said due to the gap bridging supply, the price of chicken feeds have dropped for Rwf336 per kilogramme for a short period and again went up to the current Rwf430.
“Reduction in the animal feeds prices have been short-lived, like one month,” Mr Butare told Rwanda Today.
“Profitability in poultry farming like anywhere else take into consideration many factors, but feeds takes huge share. Given the current situation, the profit margin for those who might be getting it is slim,” said Mr Butare.
Besides providing animal feeds supply from the strategic reservoir, the government has earlier pledged to start off providing subsidies on the animal feeds in a bid of cutting down the cost.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources said the government subsidy towards animal feeding has been provided in various forms to make the affordable.