(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroonian government is taking measures to set fair prices for chicken and eggs across the country. According to information reported on October 23 by the head of the national poultry interprofessional organization (Ipavic), the move is to fight market speculation especially as the end-of-year celebrations approach.
In a letter sent to broiler and layer breeders, François Djonou revealed that the price for farm-gate chickens weighing between 1.8 and 2 kg will be CFA2,300 while the price of a 30-egg tray will now range between CFA1,900 and CFA2,100, depending on the product's size. These prices will be regularly adjusted to account for changes in the cost of raw materials.
Bertrand Benoît Onana, the permanent secretary of Ipavic, emphasizes that in the past, neither Ipavic nor the Cameroonian trade ministry (Mincommerce) had ever regulated the market prices for chickens or eggs. Prices had always been determined solely by supply and demand. He explained that the agreed-upon price of CFA2,300 was reached in collaboration with producers. However, it only applies specifically to chicken purchases directly from the farm. It is therefore unclear whether it will have an impact on the cost of white meat on the market.
According to reports from households, the price of a 2 kg chicken has now reached CFA4,000 to CFA4,500 on Douala markets, compared with CFA3,000 before August 2023. Meanwhile, a 1.5 kg chicken, previously priced at CFA2,500, is now sold for CFA3,500 or more. The situation is even worse in Yaoundé, where people need to spend bewteen CFA4,000 and CFA4,500 to buy a 1.5 kg chicken, and between CFA5,000 to CFA6,000 for a 2 to 2.5 kg bird.
Ipavic attributes this rise to intermediaries, claiming that the problem lies not with producers but with speculators. The permanent secretary believes that by harmonizing farm-gate prices, the government can somehow control the margins distributors earn on end-consumer markets. This will consequently help crack down on excessive speculation, a phenomenon that generally intensifies during the end-year period.
Ipavic's decision follows a letter dated October 19 from the Trade Minister, Luc Magloire Mbarga Atangana, in which he called on poultry farmers to undertake "the necessary actions to significantly reduce chicken and egg prices" on Cameroonian markets. "We have worked to calculate the cost of producing chicken and eggs, and it is on the basis of this assessment that we have established a farm gate price that offers some assurance to the producer. Our aim is to help the government fulfill its fundamental role in combating the high cost of living. In that context, we have decided that our actions could contribute to lowering market prices," sources within the ministry said.