Poultry Traders in Jinja turn to crop farming after business.
High operational costs are forcing poultry traders in Jinja to opt out of business and venture into alternative businesses.
The price of chicken has gone up making it difficult for poultry traders to maintain regular clients to make profits.
Some of the traders are now venturing into farming after rains begun falling in April.
Fredrick Kabugo, a poultry trader in Jinja central market says he is among the few who have remained in the business, but with hardships. He has diverted some of his capital into other businesses. He says the price of chicken at wholesale has more than doubled from 4,500 shillings to 13,000 shillings forcing most traders to abandon the business. This he attributes to high transport costs as a result of increased fuel prices. Chicken from Buyende, Kamuli and Iganga is bought at 13,000 shillings which raises the selling price.
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He says at a selling price ranging from 15,000 to 17,000 shillings for local layers, clients are not easy to maintain yet most of them take chicken on credit. This leaves the trader with no money to go back and purchase more chicken in the villages.
Of the 133 poultry traders in Jinja central market only 49 are remaining in business. The rest only linger around, while some have gone into farming in villages to take advantage of the rainy season.
Dr. Stephen Kiwemba, Jinja district production officer, says most farmers cannot afford buying day-old broilers at 1,800 shillings and layers at 2,500 shillings. Besides, Kiwemba adds, the prices of feeds and transport have also increased. He says given the prevailing conditions, most farmers have resorted to crop farming, and this has caused scarcity of poultry on the market.
John Kitamirike, a resident of Mutai village in Jinja and one of the poultry traders who abandoned the business, has already cultivated two acres of maize and beans. He hopes it would be more profitable after four to five months than trading in poultry. He says most farmers have also abandoned poultry farming due to high costs of chicks and the feeds. This has affected the number of birds on the market.
The scarcity of chicken on the market and high prices of those on sale has also affected local food sellers in Jinja. A dish served with chicken sauce goes for 5000 shillings compared to that of meat and fish at 3000 shillings per plate.
Catherine Sensalire, operates a food kiosk in Napier market and she says only a few clients can afford having chicken for a meal. She says most clients now opt to have meat or fish.
high costs of commodities