Kiambu poultry farmers ditch venture due to expensive feeds

Mbugua Kiongo. He has been in the business for over 15 years. [George Njunge, Standard]

Poultry farmers in Kiambu are abandoning chicken farming due to the high cost of feeds and low egg prices.

The farmers claim that unlike in the past, they are no longer making profits.

Mbugua Kiongo is one such farmer.

He has been in the business for over 15 years but has since ditched the venture.

“I have been in this business for many years. However, the last three years have been bad after the prices for feeds skyrocketed. I have decided to do away with chicken farming. I want to try other forms of farming,” Mbugua said.

Mbugua added that poultry farmers have no control over feeds production and the market price for eggs.

He also blamed brokers who he claimed have invaded the market and affected the prices.   

 “We are at the mercy of these big companies. We are forced to sell the eggs at whichever prices they set. We have no control over the prices. Further, cheap imports have left us counting losses,”  Mbugua said.

He revealed that three years ago, he would buy a sack of layers mash and chick mash at Sh2,000, but today the same feeds cost Sh4,200.

“It is unfair since a tray of eggs has stagnated at between Sh280 and Sh300. The cost of inputs has exceeded by far, the profit margin. And these include drugs like antibiotics, dewormers, vitamin supplements and even sawdust that is necessary in a poultry house,” said Mbugua.

Njeri Njuguna, another poultry farmer specialising in layers, revealed the high cost of feeds has pushed her out of business.

“We are experiencing unhealthy competition from cheap egg imports. A few days ago, I was forced to sell eggs that I had stored waiting for the prices to shoot up. I sold a tray of eggs at Sh280 at Wangige, which is the biggest egg market in the country,” Njeri said.

Njeri pleaded with the government to intervene.

“The government must step in and either control the price of the feeds or the eggs to cushion the farmers from making losses,” she said. 

Stephen Njenga, another poultry farmer, said he has quit the business.

Njenga said that since the price of maize shot up three years ago, the prices of feeds went up too. “Whole maize is the key ingredient in making chicken feeds or cow feeds. The increase in maize prices due to drought has worsened the situation. As farmers, we have been forced to shoulder the burden.”

The farmer said that unless maize prices go down, poultry and dairy farmers will continue counting losses.