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Ethiopian poultry producers cull thousands of chicks as COVID-19 hits hotel sector

Ethiopian poultry farmers have been forced to slaughter hundreds of thousands of chicks as demand from hotel sector collapses.

20 July 2020, at 10:40am

Reuters reports that Ethiopia’s COVID-19 containment efforts has led to reduced operations in the hotel and tourism industry. The slowdown in trade has removed a major source of demand for poultry products.

Though official government data wasn’t available, EthioChicken, one of the biggest poultry suppliers in Addis Ababa, reports that it had to kill nearly 650,000 chicks in five weeks between May and June. It estimates that millions of chicks had to be destroyed across Ethiopia.

"We also had to actually pull some eggs from our hatchery, so that we could destroy them as eggs instead of chicks," Fseha Tesfu, head of marketing at EthioChicken, told Reuters.

The market disruption has far-reaching consequences for the country. In May, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide warned that nearly 15 million people could need government assistance due to the pandemic.

"This sector used to employ a vast group of society in different regions of the country, whether it is the youth or women, in all sorts of age groups," Meba Gabriel Estifanos, a veterinarian, who also owns a small farm in Addis Ababa, said.

"Now, because we are not receiving day-old chicks as the supply chain is totally disrupted, the society employed by the sector is not working at all."

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