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Egypt’s dollar crisis leads to mass cull of chicks as feed is stuck at ports

October 17, 2022 at 7:37 pm

Videos are spreading on social media of poultry breeders in Egypt culling chicks because there is not enough food for them.

In the videos, captioned, “execution of the chicks,” workers pour the animals from crates and into sacks which are then sealed.

It has been reported that there is a more than 50 per cent shortage of feed for poultry farms and that companies stopped supplying farms because they do not have any stock.

Roughly 1.5 million tonnes of corn and 500,000 tonnes of soybeans which are used to make chicken feed are stranded in the ports.

Vice-President of the Egyptian Poultry Producers Association Mohamed El-Shafei said in a widely shared, televised interview: “Unfortunately these scenes are real, because there is no feed to feed them.”

He added that corn and soybeans are not available because they are stuck in ports waiting to be released and asked that they be released urgently so that the prices would come down.

Mohamed also said that it would cost $340 million a month to release the feed.

Commentators asked if there was another solution, for example handing the chicks out to people in poorer parts of the country, rather than killing them off.

Social media users called on the government to intervene and save the poultry industry, which is in crisis.

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Analysts say that the animal feed can’t get out of the ports because there is a lack of dollars inside the country.

Egypt imports around 75 per cent of feed and only produces 25 per cent.

There is a foreign exchange shortage crisis in Egypt, coupled with escalating external debt. After import bills jumped up, authorities imposed restrictions on imports from abroad and there is currently a severe shortage of wood, furniture, toys, vehicle spare parts and electrical appliances in Egypt.

At the beginning of October Egypt, which is the world’s largest wheat importer, had not released around 700,000 tonnes of wheat from customs causing roughly 80 per cent of mills producing commercially sold bread and pasta to fold.

Added to this, in September, Egypt’s state-run Daily New Egypt reported that the Russia-Ukraine crisis had increased the production costs in the poultry industry by 30-40 per cent.

Around 30 per cent of corn and soy comes from Russia and Ukraine, where supply has seriously been affected by the war.

This has been compounded by the fact that the animal feed industry was badly affected by the coronavirus crisis as the global pandemic challenged supply chains.

In Egypt, two thirds of the population live below the poverty line and thousands have struggled to survive as the cost of food and basic commodities soar.

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State-run media tried to simultaneously blame the poultry breeders and reassure the public that the government is working to solve the problem.

Egypt’s ministry of agriculture, El-Sayed El-Qusayr, also tried to calm the outcry and say that the culling of chicks is an isolated incident.

He also said that there is a crisis worldwide and in the poultry industry because of global import conditions.

But not everybody agreed.

“The whole world is in crisis Mr. Minister, but the whole world is not participating in the destruction of an industry in which 100 billion Egyptian pounds is invested.”