KENYA – Kenya has approved the duty-free importation of raw materials for the processing of animal feeds as an intervention to address the skyrocketing cost of production and the alarming feed shortages.
The decree was made during the recent President William Ruto’s cabinet sitting in Sagana, Nyeri where the officials stated that prices of dairy feeds have almost doubled while hay has become scarce on account of the recent drought.
Kenya has been hit by animal feed shortage with the country’s annual demand for livestock feed standing at 55 million metric tonnes against a production of 22 million metric tonnes.
In 2020, the price of animal feeds reached a record high with most of the feeds going up beyond KES3,000.
According to The Star, the crisis even forced some farmers to close their dairy, poultry, and pig farms and turn to other businesses. However, the state’s move is envisioned to offer relief to farmers and enable them to access animal feeds at a cheaper price and increase their profits.
“We are slashing out the taxes on the animal feeds so that farmers can get the feeds at an affordable price,“ Ruto said
In addition, climate change, Covid-19, and the Russia-Ukraine war had contributed to the rise in prices and shortage of livestock feeds that saw Kenya lose 2.5 million livestock due to lack of pasture and water.
“In our plan, we have identified dairy and livestock economy as sub-sectors with the quickest economic turnaround time and they will become key drivers in improving food security, creating jobs, and boosting exports,” he said.
To address the acute shortage, the government also said it has also identified five value chains of hay, sorghum, cotton, sunflower, and silage as one way of filling the deficit.
The move comes after recently, Stanley Mutua, head of animal feed and nutrition services at the Ministry of Agriculture announced that Kenya seeks to raise KES 460 billion (US$3.2B) for the implementation of the new national strategy for the animal feed industry over the next 10 years.
According to Mutua, this roadmap aims in particular to address shortages of water and animal feed, improve the quality-price ratio of products and strengthen policies as well as data and information systems on feeds.
In addition, among the raft measures to rescue the feed industry, Bill and Melinda Gates recently collaborated with the African Union InterAfrican Bureau (AU-IBAR) for Animal Resources to develop evidence-driven solutions to address the adverse effects of crises on African feed and fodder systems.