The average price of an adult donkey in Kenya has increased by around 225% since Feb 2017 from Sh 4,000 to the current price of Sh 13,000 on strong demand from the Chinese market.
According to Donkey Sanctuary (NGO), the increased demand for imported donkeys was as a result of a massive drop in China’s donkey population by more than than half over the last two decades as the country has industrialised and the decimation of China’s own donkey populations .This made China to turn into Kenya and other African markets where donkey population is quite high.
In China, donkey meat is considered a delicacy with some restaurants serving special donkey dishes. Aside the meat being a delicacy, there are other uses of the donkey after it is slaughtered.
Donkey skins are boiled to produce gelatin, a key ingredient in the traditional Chinese remedy ejiao – which is included in many popular Chinese tonics and is believed to improve blood circulation and cure coughs, relieve insomnia and irregular menstruation. Ejiao now goes for $370 per per kilo.
Over the last year, three firms have set up donkey slaughterhouses in Kenya to cater for the export market in order to sustain the ever-growing demand for ejiao. Recently, Goldox Kenya Ltd was established in Chemogoch in Baringo County at a cost of Sh300 million while another plant was set up in Naivasha.
On 24th of this month, Uganda became the latest African Country to protect its working donkey population by banning the trade in donkey skins in a strongly-worded statement. Some other African countries including Niger, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Tanzania and Senegal have banned China from buying their donkeys, saying demand for the domestic had become unsustainable.