Small-scale poultry farmers are worried over the increase in chicken feed prices and many have reduced the number of chickens they rear to meet the costs.
In interviews last week, five farmers around Malawi said that increased chicken feed prices have forced them to either reduce the number of chickens they raise per given period or have completely stopped the business altogether.
Some companiesâ€™ feed such as starter has gone up to K19 810 from K9 320, an increase of 113 percent. Growers has gone up by 16 percent and is now selling at K9 685 from K8 360 and finisherâ€™s, has increased from K7 906 toÂ K9 685 , a jump of 23 percent.
Other companies have raised starter from K10 050 to K11 400, growers from K9 100 to K10 200 and finisher from K8 650 to K9 650.
A chicken farmer from Mponela, Wisikesi Malosi, said he is finding it difficult to buy the chicken feed because the increase is huge.
â€˜We cannot manage to buy the feeds consistently and in the end the chickens might end up dying if we give them madeya,â€ said Malosi.
Another farmer from Lilongwe, Barnabas Malapata, said that he is now forced to make his own feed since the feed from companies is proving to be expensive and not sustainable.
â€œSince the prices were raised, I manage to feed my chickens starter and growers, but when it comes to finisher, it is very difficult especially when the sales are very slow. This leads me to make my own feed which sometimes gives the chickenâ€™s digestive problems and many of them die,â€ said Malapata.
Farmers Union of Malawi (FUM) president Felix Jumbe has chided the manufacturers for raising the prices beyond the reach of many farmers.
â€œThe price adjustments are not realistic because prices of maize have been stable for a considerable time and it is only soya which is expensive, but the hike is too much. This will put many small-scale poultry farmers out of business meaning that prices of poultry products will continue to rise,â€ said Jumbe.