Lockdown breeds shortage of chicken, eggs

Thursday July 30 2020

poultry

The Poultry farmers incurred losses as government implemented measures to control the spread of Covid19.Photo:Cyril NDEGEYA  

MOSES K. GAHIGI
By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Biting shortage of poultry products has hit the market, thanks to lockdown and Covid-19 measures that pushed farmers out of business.

Poultry farmers incurred losses as the government implemented measures to control the spread of Covid19, which included shutting down of restaurants, hotels and bars, which are among the leading buyers of poultry products.

Since poultry farmers could not sustain cost of production at a time there was not market for their products many ended up destroying their eggs which were ready for hatching, chicks and mature chicken, while many medium and smaller farmers closed not to come back.

Although the sector is beginning to pick up its pieces after the lockdown was lifted, with the surviving farmers restocking their farms, the market is experiencing a sharp demand because supply is currently low.

“The demand for poultry products has shot up, and its likely to even go higher because supply is very low, the market was critically damaged by the lockdown, many farmers never survived” said Butare Andrew, president of the Rwanda poultry farmers association.

He says supply will only begin to recover in the coming months, starting October, after the surviving farmers who are restocking now begin to supply the market.

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Poultry East Africa Ltd (PEAL), the country’s leading chicken farmer and processor lost more than Rwf100 million in destroyed chicken products, but expects to return to full production by October.

The company had invested in the business hoping to cash in on the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that was slated for June but cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak.

At the height of the lockdown, a tray of eggs went as low as Rwf1800, and farmers got stranded, as millions of eggs could not get buyers, to the point that government moved in to buy the eggs at Rfw50 each, which was half the price before the lockdown.

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