Covid-19: How a poultry farmer can stay afloat
Poultry meat is a perishable food item because its nutrients can help the growth of bacteria. Its perishability has put, especially those that keep broilers, on tenterhooks.
Broilers kept for commercial purposes normally reach slaughter weight of about two kilogrammes at between five to seven weeks yet the lockdown which has been in place since March 18 to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, has left many farmers with more questions than answers.
Cross border trade to Kenya where Uganda was supplying between 25 and 40 tonnes a week, have also been disrupted. On top of that there is resistance by the Kenya Poultry Breeders Association (KPBA) which claim Ugandan imports are eating into their market.
Locally, stocks of chicken meat in excess of the current requirements are, however, having a huge impact on live chicken prices.
Currently, as a means of keeping in business, several farmers hire trucks and hawk the live birds in small towns. Others have taken to cold storage. But the prices have been deteriorating with each bird being sold at about Shs10,000.
The competing commodities, beef and pork, which would have provided an opportunity, remain low.
Most markets for chicken have been driven by stylish consumer tastes but several top-notch restaurants have been closed.