Livestock producers and animal feed manufacturers have raised concerns over the unprecedented increase in animal feed prices.
Through the Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) the producers said the increase has led to closure of both livestock farming enterprises and many feed mills which in turn has led to job losses.
Speaking in Nairobi Monday on the current state of the animal feed sector in the country, AKEFEMA Secretary General Martin Kinoti said that unless urgent measures are taken by the government, the commercial sector is facing imminent collapse.
He explained that Kenya does not produce reasonable quantities of Soya beans, sunflower or cotton whose by-products soyabean meal, sunflower and also cotton seed cake are major sources of protein in the manufacture of animal feeds.
“Kenya entirely depends on imports from Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Zambia for oil cakes, but due to effects of adverse weather the outbreak of COVID 19, supplies from these countries have been decreasing and the prices rising sharply,” he said.
Kinoti gave an example of the price of Soyabean meal which has increased in the last two months from Sh70 to Sh130 currently. “Similar price increases and supply shortages have also been recorded for the other oil cakes and on average a 70 kg bag of dairy meal has gone up from Sh2000 to Sh2,350 in the last two months,” he said.
As an association, Kinoti said their request to the government is to urgently review a cabinet memo of 2012 that had banned GM foods and allow importation of GM materials specifically soyabean meal, and yellow maize in order to improve the landing prices of the raw materials and a drop in the local feed prices.
Raw materials, he said, have gone up by almost 65 per cent while feed prices have also gone up by an average of 20 per cent.
“India and Madagascar have recently taken similar decisions to save their livestock sectors from similar difficulties and imminent collapse,” he said
AKEFEMA Chairman Joseph Karuri said that pig feeds have experienced a similar price hike with raw materials in the last three months going up by 65 per cent. Feed prices equally have gone up by an average of 20 per cent.
“These uneven changes are due to the fact that feed millers are not able to pass on the entire incremental cost of raw material through selling price increases to the farmers who are already getting a low price for their products such as eggs, milk and meat,” Karuri said.
The chairman said that many poultry and dairy farmers have already closed their operations until such a time when the situation improves.
“For the last two months 20 animal feed millers in Nairobi, Thika and Nakuru have already closed shop,” Karuri said
AKEFEMA has urged the government to temporarily ban exports of milling by-products including wheat bran, wheat pollard and maize germ to improve the quantities offered locally, just as Zambia has done in order to protect their livestock industry.
Since animal feeds take up to eighty per cent of the cost of production, livestock products such as eggs, milk and meat, Karuri further urged the government to remove duty and VAT on vitamin and mineral additives to help reduce the cost of animal feeds.
Dr. Sharon Tsigadi, General Manager at Farmers Choice said pig production costs have increased by 30 to 40 per cent and this has now seen higher pork price per kg but worse it has seen small scale farmers opting out of pig farming.
“The effect on the current feed raw material pricing and scarcity on the pig industry has seen feed prices increase by 20 per cent and this has seen feed producers lose 50 per cent in sales.
Raw materials of maize and soya beans, she said have increased in price by 30 per cent and 200 per cent respectively when compared to same period last year.
Dr. Tsigadi added that Sunflower meal has increased by 50 per cent while scarcity and high pricing of wheat and maize milling by products prices have increased by up to 60 per cent.
Livestock sub-sector in the country has steadily been losing competitiveness to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania and Uganda mainly due to their low cost of livestock products.
The current production cost in Kenya of a tray of eggs is about Sh 260 per Kilogram compared to Uganda which is at Sh220 because the country relies on Uganda for raw materials for production of feeds.
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