Impact of Feed Price Variability on Commercial Chicken Production in Murang'a County
Njoroge, Samuel Chomba
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Layers and broilers production suffer from high chicken feed prices or price variability in Kenya. Murang'a county is not an exception .. This study aimed at investigating the impact of chicken feeds price variability on layers and broilers production. The study investigated the impact of prices and quantities of layers mash and broiler finisher mash, rate at which farmers adjusted their chicken population levels, growth rates of chicken population and feed price and price variability of the feed prices. The study used compound growth rate model to estimate the rate of growth in layers and broilers population and chicken feed prices. Coefficient of variation was used to determine the variability of chicken feed prices. The Nerlovian model was used to estimate the rate at which farmers adjusted their layers and broilers population. Price elasticity of demand for layers and broiler finisher mash were investigated. The study used multiple regression model to estimate the effect of chicken population, lagged chicken feed prices, and lagged quantities of chicken feed consumed and time on current chicken population. The direction and magnitude of the relationship between the variables and chicken population were investigated. Data was collected from 60 operating and randomly selected chicken feed retailers and 134 chicken farmers. Data was obtained directly from chicken feed retailers and farmers from January to late April 2014. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using pretested questionnaires. The data obtained through interview surveys was processed and analysed to estimate the impacts of the various variable on chicken population. Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 and excel was used to analyse the data. The study employed growth production and price theories and descriptive research design. The results of the study revealed that layers and broilers population grew at a continuous growth rate of 5.9% and 9.9% per year respectively. The annual growth rate of average retail price per 70kg was 19.7% for layers mash and 15.7% for broilers mash. The estimated coefficient of variation (COY) of retail price of layers mash was between 3.6% and 6.9% while that of broiler finisher mash ranged from 1.7% to price 2.0%. The results indicate that price variability had lower impact on the allocation of finances to broilers production than layers production. The Nerlovian coefficient of adjustment was moderate for layers (0.3) and low (0.2) for broilers. The results of econometric model showed that the lagged price of layers mash and broiler finisher mash had significant impact on the chicken population. There was a negative relationship between time and layers population. The study results indicate an increase in chicken population implying increased demand for chicken feeds. The increases in chicken feed prices have made feeds less affordable and have affected the allocation of finances to purchase them. Thus the government should promote establishment of feed factories, enhance market information and research, provision of extension services and better access finance to both farmers and feed traders.