High-end hotels in Kenya create best turkey market

The increasing demand for turkey meat by high-end hotels in Kenya is creating a lucrative market for the bird.  A spot check at various five star hotels in Nairobi, for instance, showed that turkey meat is served three times a week on average, with the demand increasing during festive seasons like Christmas and Easter. At the Intercontinental Hotel for instance, the three exotic meats served for every dinner are turkey, camel and crocodile, with a plate going for Sh2450.
Low turkey production in Africa
According to a Manager at Safari Park Hotel, who did not disclose his name, most turkey meat served at the hotel is sourced from farmers across the country although the low production normally forces them to import from world leading producers like USA and Europe. US accounts for almost 50 per cent of the world’s turkey meat, producing an average of 3.37m tonnes per year. Africa only manages an average of 0.12m tonnes, according to FAO.
Attractive market prices
The demand for this exotic meat has pushed the price high in Kenya with a kilogram of turkey meat retailing at Sh600 as an egg goes for Sh60. According to Mwangi Macharia of Kora Poultry farm in Murang’a County, a mature tom, a male turkey, can weigh up to 13 kilos, fetching up to Sh7000. Apart from meat and eggs, farmers can also sell turkey feathers mostly used for decoration purposes.
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Peter Wakusev, a Kajiado based turkey farmer who supplies meat to various upscale markets in Nairobi including Prime Cuts at Village Market, Tribe Hotel, Enashapai, Fairmont and the Norfolk explains that not all turkeys can be kept for commercial purposes. Wakusev advises that the broad-breasted White breed is considered the best for meat production. According to experts, this breed has the best feed to meat conversion rate.
The breed consumes less feed and converts this feed to meat within a very short time. Other popular breeds kept for meat include the White Holland and Standard Bronze.
Turkeys are ready for market at 12-20 weeks while hens start laying eggs when they reach 5 months.