Ethiopian farmers slaughter thousands of chicks as pandemic kills demand
Ethiopia's movement restrictions to contain the novel coronavirus has led hotels in Addis Ababa to reduce operations or even shut down,
While the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly all business sectors adversely, it is the hospitality industry that seems to have been handed the roughest end of the stick.
In a telling example of the damage that the virus has inflicted on the industry, Ethiopian poultry farmers have destroyed hundreds of thousands of chicks due to a collapse in demand from the hotel sector, owing to the pandemic.
According to a Reuters report, Ethiopia's movement restrictions to try to contain the novel coronavirus has led hotels in Addis Ababa to reduce operations or even shut down. This in turn has led to a steep fall in the demand for poultry products.
The report said that in the absence of government data, it was information from EthioChicken, one of the biggest suppliers of poultry products in Addis Ababa, that gave a figure to the losses. EthioChicken said that it had to kill nearly 650,000 chicks in five weeks over May and June and estimated that millions had been destroyed country-wide.
"We also had to actually pull some eggs from our hatchery, so that we could destroy them as eggs instead of chicks," Fseha Tesfu, in charge of marketing at EthioChicken, told Reuters.
The impact is extremely disrupting for the sector and has potentially devastating social consequences in a country where Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said in May nearly 15 million people could need government help because of the pandemic.
The hotel sector has been largely paralysed and unable to pay staff, while the latest official data shows the country has confirmed 9,503 coronavirus cases and 167 deaths.
A global issue
Nearly a week ago, around 120 hospitality and tourism bosses in the United Kingdom signed an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, requesting for aid and investment. The industry wants to see VAT reduced, tax bills further deferred and some rent debt covered through grants, warning of “widespread devastation” if support is not provided, BBC reported.
Back home in India, majority of hotel operators believe that it will take two years for their revenues to return to pre-COVID levels. According to a recent survey by real estate consultancy firm, JLL, 60% of hotel operators said that the recovery in the hospitality sector would take between 13 to 24 months.
As many as 67% of the operators surveyed confirmed that they are being approached by the hotel owners for financial assistance or relief in the form of fixed system charges and deferring management fees.