KENYA – ` The government of Kenya plans to set aside 2.2 million acres of land to produce 4.3 billion bales of hay in 10 years to ensure feed security.

Speaking during the launch of the Kenya chapter of Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project and the Assessments Dr. Stanley Mutua, the Head of Animal Feeds and Nutrition at the State Department for Livestock Development said the country wants to move from small to large-scale production of feed.

According to him, the country faces a serious shortage of livestock feed and fodder, and sustainable measures are needed to reverse the situation.

He revealed that the country needs 55 million metric tonnes of feed annually but only provides 40 percent of this, with 46.3 percent going to post-harvest losses.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is committed to driving sustainable feed and nutrition security system through building consensus with stakeholders,” he said.

He said the global triple crises on Africa’s feed and fodder sector, dubbed three Cs: Covid-19, Climate change and Conflict, seriously affected production.

RAFFs is an initiative of the African Union-InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to harness evidence-driven solutions for short-term interventions to enhance access to affordable and quality feed and fodder.

Kenya’s RAFFs priority value chains are dairy, red meat and live animals. RAFFs is expected to provide data on 3Cs on feed security to inform policy and drive feed agenda.

The project targets to utilize public and private land and exploit technology for optimum production of fodder.

Focus on value addition

To improve feed security, the government wants to scale up storage, conservation and value addition.

The Ministry of Agriculture plans to link producers and feed users to complete the value chain and ensure sustainable production.

The government also wants to diversify the feed value chain through the production of oil crops including soya, sunflower, cotton seed cake, legume, and lucerne.

Mutua said post-harvest losses and low mechanization and transport connectivity are among the challenges of the value chain.

Director of Livestock Production, Bishar Elmi, assured that the Kenya Kwanza government is committed to supporting the livestock sector.

Elmi emphasized that as the government invests in livestock feed and fodder, it also needs to invest in animal health to ensure optimum production.

Great opportunities exist in the livestock feed and fodder sector with growing human population, demand for animal protein, and national economic growth,” said Elmi.

Feed and fodder crisis to blame for livestock losses

Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N) Kenya Director Huyam Salih said livestock feeding constitutes 60-70 percent of the total cost of livestock production and Africa’s feed and fodder resources have been greatly affected by the global triple C crises.

The Director noted that the massive loss of 9.5 million livestock, worth over 2 billion USD, in the recent drought in the Greater Horn of Africa region resulted in the loss of invaluable livestock genetic resources, developed over decades.

In a speech read on his behalf by AU-IBAR Senior Project and Programmes Officer Dr Annie Lewa, he said there were also huge losses for downstream stakeholders and retailing businesses.

The Director said Kenya was identified as one of the six core countries including Cameroon, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe for the RAFFS project.

He lauded the government of Kenya for making the development of the feed and fodder sector a priority that can become a game changer for meeting key development and economic indicators in the livestock production sector in Kenya.

“AU-IBAR looks forward to working together to bring greater visibility to the importance of the feed and fodder sector and to strengthen it as critical to enhancing livestock production and achieving food and nutrition security,” he said.

One of the result areas of the RAFFS project is the empowerment of women in the feed and fodder and the livestock sourced foods value chains.

Salih said the AWARFA-N Kenya Chapter is expected to be one of the most vibrant and empowered with visible achievements.

“The RAFFS Project will support the consolidation of the AWARFA-Net Kenya Five-year strategy and resource mobilization plan,” he said.

At this Workshop the Chapter will engage with financial and insurance institutions to begin the process of strengthening women in the animal resources access to tailored credit and insurance services and undertake some capacity building.