Curbing eggs glut, agriculture CS to vet importers


Curbing eggs glut, agriculture CS to vet importers

In Summary

  • In 2017, Kenya imported 37,338 eggs, all from China. In 2018, this rose by 150 to 5.6 million.
  • Uganda accounted for the biggest source of Kenya’s egg imports, with traders importing 5 million eggs from the neighbour.
  • This represented 89% of the total imports during the period. China and the United Arab Emirates are the other two major countries where Kenya sourced its imports.

Egg importers will now be required to obtain clearance from the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture in order to import their eggs.

This is one of the radical measures being undertaken by the government as it seeks to protect local poultry farmers from unfair competition.

The measures were outlined during a response session to the agriculture departmental committee by the Cabinet Secretary in charge of agriculture Mwangi Kiunjuri.

Previously, egg import licenses were issued directly by the Director of Veterinary Services.

Currently, Kenya’s annual egg production stands at 1.6 billion while annual consumption is at 1.2 billion, meaning that farmers are left with over 400 million eggs.

This coupled with the imports perhaps explaining the glut currently witnessed in the market.

“There is a time we use to do like 40,000- 50,000 profit in a month, right now its just half of that and we have incurred other costs besides that like vaccines, medicines have gone higher plus also getting the right feeds,” said Rachel Kuria- Poultry Keeper in Kiambu.

According to government statistics, there have been a rise in egg imports into the country over the last two years.

In 2017, Kenya imported 37,338 eggs, all from China. In 2018, this rose by 150 to 5.6 million.

Uganda accounted for the biggest source of Kenya’s egg imports, with traders importing 5 million eggs from the neighbour.

This represented 89% of the total imports during the period. China and the United Arab Emirates are the other two major countries where Kenya sourced its imports.

But veterinary experts in the country say a cabinet secretary’s approval is not enough to stop illegal egg imports.

“We are trying to solve a problem here, not symptoms of the problem. Even if the CS will be authorizing, there is one aspect he can’t take up, the sanitary aspect of the importation. We must do risk assessment, to avoid introducing diseases and that can only be done by director not vet services,” said Samuel Kahariri, National Chairman, Kenya Veterinary Association.

“ If you look at our borders they are very porous and they allow even products from neighbouring countries which have been very cheaply produced and I think this nothing more than dumping,”

“ If you look at Busia they have routes where they smuggle the eggs, some of it through the Malaba border, there is more than half a million trays of eggs at these borders coming through, if you look at books you will not see any of this. These traders have devised mechanism of routes not manned, sometimes they offload on the other border and then soda sodas and tug tubs take them,” he added.

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Story By Dennis Otieno
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