The coronavirus outbreak forced hotels in capital city Addis Ababa to shut their doors. The closures led to a collapse in demand for poultry products.
EthioChicken, one of the biggest poultry suppliers in Addis Ababa, said it had to kill nearly 650,000 chicks in five weeks over May and June.
And it estimated millions had been destroyed across Ethiopia.
Fseha Tesfu, who is in charge of marketing at EthioChicken, said: “We also had to actually pull some eggs from our hatchery, so that we could destroy them as eggs instead of chicks.”
The fall in demand for poultry products is also causing unemployment.
Veterinarian Meba Gabriel Estifanos, who owns a farm in Addis Ababa, said: “This sector used to employ a vast group of society in different regions of the country, whether it is the youth or women, in all sorts of age groups.
“Now, because we are not receiving day-old chicks as the supply chain is totally disrupted, the society employed by the sector is not working at all.”
The hotel sector has been badly hit and has not been able to pay staff.
Bantayehu Wolde-Michael, manager of Capital Hotel in Addis Ababa, said: “If we are not working, it is difficult for us to pay our employees.”
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The outbreak led to a lockdown for 600,000 people in the surrounding Guetersloh region which has now been lifted.
New hygiene measures include changes to the ventilation system, compulsory wearing of face masks and regular coronavirus tests.
The plant normally slaughters and processes around 14 percent of Germany’s pigs.
The shutdown caused a sharp fall in German pork prices.