Kenyan consumers are paying more for eggs as the price of the commodity shoots to a high of Sh450 a tray from Sh380 in November, amid scarcity and expensive imports from Uganda.
The sharp rise in cost has been attributed to a scarcity in production due to rising demand from consumers.
Kenya Poultry Farmers Association said the shortage had been occasioned by the high cost of feed in the last two years and a rebound in demand after the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, which had impacted negatively on purchasing power.
In Uganda, where Kenya gets the bulk of imports to stabilise the local prices, the cost of a tray has shot from Ksh205(Shs6,044) in December to Ksh308 (Shs9,081) currently, making it difficult for Kenyan traders to procure stocks there as they will have to incur another cost in transport, making it expensive when it gets to the country.
“A lot of farmers closed their businesses in the last two years and breeders had stopped stocking laying chicks. This, coupled with expensive feeds in the market has seen a shortage in supply of eggs, leading to the high cost of eggs,” said Wairimu Karanja, chairperson of the association.
Russia-Ukraine war, which has impacted the supply of grain — a key component in the processing of animal feeds has been linked to the skyrocketing feed prices that have hit the global supply chain.
The rising cost and shortage are not just a regional phenomenon.
The United States also faces a serious shortage of eggs that has seen the cost of the product skyrocket in retail outlets.
Kenya has opened a duty-free window for yellow maize between now and December to allow millers and traders to ship in the commodity for processing of feeds with the view to lowering the cost.
The price of 70-kilogramme bag of layers marsh is selling for Ksh4,500 ( Shs132,688) from Ksh3,800 (Shs112,000) last April, chick mash is going for Ksh4,940 (Shs145,662) from Ksh4,200 (Sh123,800) while the dairy meal is selling at Ksh2,850 (Shs84,000) from Sh2,500 (Shs73,700).
The prices have remained at record-high levels for nearly a year.