KENYA – Poultry producers in Kenya have protested an impending trade agreement between the Kenyan government and the United States that seeks to allow the importation of finished poultry products into the country.

If finalised, this agreement would allow for the importation of finished poultry products from the United States, posing an existential threat to the domestic industry.

The Kenyan producers say they learned of the push for the US to export finished poultry products to Kenya under the proposed US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) during a stakeholders’ forum convened by the State Department of Trade.

According to the Poultry Breeders Association of Kenya (PBAK), the lobby for breeders, hatcheries, and meat processors, the move is unwelcomed as it would weaken local producers, resulting in job losses, stifle growth and economic activity in rural areas, and jeopardise food security, particularly in vulnerable communities.

Addressing Alfred Ombudo K’Ombudo, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industries, the association presented a memorandum protesting the move.

 “The Kenyan poultry sector teeters on the brink of collapse if imports of finished poultry from the United States flood the market, as local producers cannot compete with a developed market,” the memorandum claimed.

The advocacy group urges the US Congress and Senate to consider the broader ramifications.

The memorandum describes the challenges that local poultry producers face, highlighting the significant differences in production costs, standards, and regulations between Kenya and the United States. 

Unlike their American counterparts, who benefit from economies of scale and advanced technology, Kenyan poultry farmers face more constraints.

The cost of production in Kenya far exceeds that in the United States, making it impossible for local producers to compete on an equal basis.

Moreover, the memorandum underscores the wider implications of mass imports of finished poultry products. This would not only devastate countless small-scale farmers, but it would also have far-reaching consequences for Kenya’s economy. 

Kenya’s poultry sector contributes significantly to employment, food security, and economic growth. Allowing cheap imports into the market would jeopardise decades of investment and development efforts in the local poultry industry.

Given these compelling arguments, stakeholders in the Kenyan poultry sector urge the government to reconsider its stance on the pending agreement with the USA. 

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