Suppliers of eggs in Gulu district are recording a downturn in eggs sales due to the economic slowdown resulting from the national lockdown instituted because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The economic slump has also seen the price of eggs reduce by at least Shs. 1000 per tray.
Quantum Foods Uganda that has a poultry farm in Masindi Port supplies eggs in Gulu, Bweyale, Lira, Arua and Kitgum districts. However, the company’s management told theCooperator that they have been forced to reduce the price of eggs per tray since the lockdown started.
Allen Ozibwe, area Manager Quantum Foods, Gulu Branch, said their main buyers such as hotels, bakeries, retailers and rolex makers have either closed or drastically reduced the volumes of their orders.
“Before the lockdown, we would sell 200 trays a day, but now we only sell about 100 trays,” she said, adding that this has forced them to reduce the price of each tray from Shs 11,500 to Shs 10.000.
At the company’s store in Gulu, trays of eggs were stacked atop each other with not a single buyer in sight, because the ban on public transportation means that even those who might have come to buy the eggs for resale cannot make it.
“Additionally, restaurants, rolex makers and bakeries, who were our main buyers have reduced on their quantity while others have stopped buying,” Ozibwe said.
She said other business people who used to buy more than ten trays for resale are now just trickling in, while the rolex makers, who used to buy the broken eggs for their business have also greatly reduced, because many of their clients are at home, and the curfew starts at the time when their business is at the peak (7pm).
Isaac Opiyo, a rolex maker in Layibi center, said he used to buy two trays of eggs daily for his rolex-making, but now it takes him three days to use up one tray.
Opiyo explained that this is because most of his clients are now home, and he opens his stall from 11 am till 6pm only.
“In the past, I used to open at 7 am and close midnight,” he said.
Other heavy buyers of eggs, like the bakeries, have also reduced the quantity they buy, because very few of their clients, if any, are ordering for cakes and other confectionaries that require eggs as one of their main ingredients.
Jennifer Anena, a Bakery Accountant at Pawat Northern Bakery in Gulu Town, said before the lockdown, the bakery routinely stocked a minimum of five trays of eggs per week for making cakes and other confectioneries. Now, they only buy three trays, which hardly get used.
Anena attributed this to the decline in orders for cakes that resulted from the lockdown which also dictated against huge gatherings such as birthdays and weddings.
“On ordinary days before the lockdown, we could get a minimum of four cake orders a week. And on public holidays like Easter, we could get a minimum of ten orders, but this Easter, we got only one order,” she explained.
George Odong, a wholesaler of eggs in Gulu Bus Park said he stocked 50 trays per week before the lockdown, which would be sold out in three days.
“The crisis found me with new stock, which took two weeks to sell,” he said.
As a result, he has had to take a drastic step:
“I have put the egg business on hold for now,” Odong revealed.
Production of eggs in Uganda grew to 930 million in 2018, according to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).
However, poultry farmers and dealers in eggs are worried that if the COVID-19 shutdown continues much longer, sales will drop even further, causing losses to thousands in the sector across the country.