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Rising Maize Prices Leads to Shortage of Eggs

by 5m Editor
11 December 2008, at 9:03am

UGANDA - Kampala is currently facing an acute shortage of eggs.

This follows increasing cost of feeds that has pushed many suppliers out of the poultry business. According to The New Vision, a survey of major sales outlets in Kampala showed that many retailers had completely run out of eggs, while others had increased prices.

In Nakasero Market, all retailers interviewed last week had run out of eggs. Florence Nanziri, an egg distributor, said she expected supply from farmers the following day, but would be selling at sh5,500 a tray of 30 eggs, up from sh5,000 a week earlier. She said farmers had also increased the prices.

At the Uganda Poultry Association (UPA) outlet in Old Kampala where farmers sell directly to retailers, the eggs had also run out. Susan Wamala who links farmers to buyers at UPA said the farmers had increased the price from sh4,300 to sh4,800 a tray. At Biyinzika Farmers on Johnson Street, the staff said the available eggs had been booked by schools with a tray going for sh5,500.

Industry sources said the increasing cost of feeds had pushed many farmers out of business, leading to the shortage.

Also, the eggs are sold to southern Sudan at higher prices. Fred Bamwine who runs a poultry farm in Kyanja near Kampala says many of his buyers are traders exporting to Sudan.

“Surprisingly, there is also increasing demand in the local market. People are lining up for the eggs. We are selling a tray at sh6,000 and are likely to increase that soon,” Bamwine said.

“In January 2008,” he explained, “we were buying a 70-kg bag of feed at sh24,000. The cost has increased to about sh36,500.” Bamwine says the Government should stop the exportation of raw and unprocessed maize so as to guarantee the supply of poultry feed.

“A lot of raw maize is being exported to Sudan. This has impacted on the supply of maize bran, a key ingredient in poultry feeds,” he said.

In Kampala, eggs are mainly consumed in homes and restaurants. Retailing boiled eggs and sandwiches commonly referred to as ‘Rolex’ is also increasingly popular in Kampala and other towns.

Despite this rising demand, there is no organised supply chain to consistently feed the market. Buyers directly source the eggs from small-scale farmers and retailers scattered in different parts of the country. These cannot guarantee supply.

However, the situation is different regarding the supply of broilers. With the presence of a big player Ugachic selling between 10,000 and 15,000 birds every month, the supply tends to be more consistent, although demand often exceeds supply during the Christmas and End of Year festive season.

Mala Vellasamy, the broiler line manager at Ugachic, however, says they are better prepared for the market this season.

“We have planned a stock of over 20,000 broilers and have offered a special discount of sh500 on each (one-kilogramme) broiler, reducing the price from sh9,000 to sh8,500.

However, consumers will still pay about sh1,500 higher than last year when a kilogramme was sold at sh7,000.