Poultry farmers count losses as covid-19 pushes down demand

Tuesday June 9 2020

Poultry

Lack of market has exposed poultry farmers across the country to losses. Photo ~ Cyril Ndegeya  

MOSES K. GAHIGI
By MOSES K. GAHIGI
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Poultry farmers are counting losses in the wake of covid-19 prevention measures, which pushed down demand for their products.

Poultry East Africa Ltd (PEAL), a local exporter of chicken said the firm destroyed eggs for hatching, chicks and mature chickens ready for market worth Rw100million. In addition, chicken meat worth Rwf200million is still in freezers without a buyer.

The company which has been operating since 2012, had invested in the business hoping to cash in on the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that was slated for June but canceled due to Covid-19 outbreak.

This has forced the company to dispose chicken that were ready for supply to hotels that were to host the delegates.

“We had geared ourselves to supply CHOGM, but all this has been crushed, we had also planned to supply many other meetings in Kigali, we have incurred losses yet we continue to incur costs” said Neil Roper, the PEAL General Manager.

He said they exported chicken to Democratic Republic of Congo but since the airlines were grounded and borders closed, the company had to contend with stockpiled meat.

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“Our customers stopped paying us, and our supply lines were completely decimated, hotels are consuming very small amounts since the partial lifting of the lockdown because they also don’t have customers” he said, adding that the only way things will go back to normal is if a Covid19 vaccine is developed.

He noted that the situation is even worse for his small holder contract farmers, who took loans, and many had destroyed the chicken since they don’t have freezers, while a few others kept spending on feeding broilers to the point that some chicken got to 4Kgs, double of the normal size.

Butare Andrew, president of the Rwanda poultry farmers association said the industry has lost at least Rwf2billion.

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