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One egg which was sold for 3.50 birr a month ago now has gone up to five birr at local markets. Milk prices have also increased by 5 birr to 21 birr. The price increase is being blamed on the rising price of animal and chicken feed, the gap between supply and demand and the many ‘middlemen’ eggs go through before reaching customers. According to poultry farmers maize, one of the ingredients of chicken feed increased more than 40 percent from 800 birr per quintal to 1,100 birr, and a similar price increase has occurred with soy beans, which are imported from abroad. One bundle of dry grass, which is consumed by cows and ox, has jumped from 60 to 85 birr. Restaurants have also responded by increasing their prices.
Tsegerada Fikadu, Poultry Development Director at the Ministry of Agriculture said modern poultry practice should expand to supplying large volumes.
“We have nearly 60 million chickens that travel in and out of this place but only two million are raised on modern farms.  There are only 18 modern poultry farms in Ethiopia. So we cannot escape high price variation every year unless we move toward modern farming.  As a government we are developing a new poultry policy to raise chickens properly.’’
She added that the brokers are also causing problems by taking huge and unnecessary profit margins.
“There are groups who buy eggs at a low price and sell it to the market at a high price so we should all work to tackle this problem.’’
Ethiopia is the 14th most populous country in the world. However, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), it produced only 60,000 tons of poultry meat in 2012. Annual per capita poultry meat consumption stands at only 0.6 kg, while annual per capita egg consumption is 0.40 kg.
From the total of 60 million chickens only 18 million hatch eggs and 94 percent of Ethiopian poultry is farmed traditionally. Last fiscal year the nation produced 1.4 billion eggs.
The Ministry of Agriculture says it is working on artificial insemination to develop a better breed of chicken.
Currently, in Ethiopia, the demand for dairy products is met through domestic production and through imports. The growing population, expansion of urbanization and urbanized lifestyles, as well as the income growth in Ethiopia are expected to increase the demand for dairy products.