KENYA – De Heus Animal Nutrition, a Netherlands-based multinational animal feed supplier, has broken ground for the construction of a KES 3 billion (US$26M) state-of-the-art livestock feed factory in Athi River, Machakos County.

The animal feed supplier giant held the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, April 4, in the presence of esteemed government and industry officials among other distinguished guests.

According to the feed company, construction work on the factory will be completed in the second half of 2025 paving the way for commercial operations to commence. The Dutch firm has operations in over 20 countries, of which six are in Africa, according to the company’s website.

Once operational, the plant will produce an estimated 200,000 Metric Tonnes of Animal feeds targeted at the regional Poultry, Swine, Aqua and Ruminant sectors while creating upwards of 1000 direct and indirect jobs across the animal feeds and related value chains.

Livestock plays an essential role in Kenya’s economy through directly providing food, income and employment to millions of Kenyans and indirectly providing raw materials to the agro-processing industry.

However, the livestock’s contribution to agricultural GDP has been declining on the back of poor animal husbandry, mainly because of poor feeding practices, which has led to low livestock productivity.

The entry of De Heus Animal Nutrition Limited is, therefore, expected to disrupt the local animal feed industry, which has been reeling under a high cost of production that has pushed out some players and driven the cost of feeds through the roof.

Economic boost and local support

Koen de Heus, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of De Heus Animal Nutrition B.V., highlighted that the investment shows the company’s confidence and commitment towards supplying livestock farmers with high-quality animal feeds to support the effective and healthy growth of the local meat, eggs and milk industry while helping to further development of the Kenyan Agricultural sector.  

On his part, Jonathan Mueke, the Principal Secretary (PS) of Livestock Development in the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development, who officiated over the ceremony, lauded the investment as a significant sign of confidence in the Kenyan economy and the firm’s growth prospects in the local animal feed industry.

“We are excited by the interest and investment by De Heus Kenya in the local animal feed sector. By merging their global expertise with an understanding of Kenya’s agricultural landscape, we hope to see an introduction of agricultural innovations and feed technologies for our farmers, towards meeting Kenya’s food security needs,” said Mueke.

The PS acknowledged the commitment by De Heus Kenya to collaborate with the government and farming communities to foster agricultural development for long-term growth through technical support, job creation, and continued investment in Kenya’s agriculture and livestock sectors.

According to the Dutch firm, the team at De Heus Kenya shall, together with specialist support from The Netherlands support Kenyan farmers with both feed products combined with farm management advisory services leading to higher yields, more sustainable farming practices and a positive impact on farming communities.

Wavinya Ndeti, the governor of Machakos County, who also attended the event, said her office would endeavour to create a supportive environment for businesses to be able to continuously attract investors whilst spurring job creation for county residents. 

“Machakos County is renowned as one of the best counties to do business in Kenya with transformative projects and economic assets such as the Konza Technology City and plans for the new Machakos City, as well as a set industrial development corridor here in Mavoko Sub-County.

“Our commitment to investors, both big and small is that our doors are open. We shall support your businesses for the mutual benefit of the county and the people of Machakos,” she said.

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