KENYA – Prices of animal feed remain high despite the government extending a duty waiver for manufacturers to import raw materials according to John Gathogo from the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA).
Speaking in an interview with the Star, Gathogo said that with the scarcity and high cost of raw materials, particularly soybean, and maize, it will take some time for prices of animal feeds to start stabilizing despite the duty waiver extension.
Recently, during President William Ruto’s cabinet sitting in Sagana, Nyeri, a decree was made to allow 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 request was granted and an extension was allowed through a gazette notice issued on August 11, 2023. The gazette notice allowed an extension of duty waiver until February 2024.
However, Gathogo said despite the extension of the duty waiver, prices of animal feed are still high and they are yet to stabilize due to the scarcity of maize.
“Maize is still not available in the traditional regional import markets like Zambia and Uganda, while Tanzania is only allowing minimal exports of the commodity. The cost of soya has also shot up in the last two weeks from KES75 per kilo to KES100 and it is still going up,” Gathogo said.
Gathogo further revealed that the weakening shilling against the dollar has had its share in the ongoing drawback in the feed sector.
According to him, prices are likely to remain as they are but if the dollar comes down from KESH150 to between KES130 to KES120, then the benefit will go directly to the farmers.
We are hopeful that the dollar will come down to a level that will make the cost of importation cheaper. What is being imported now is expensive due to the dollar,” he said.
He also backed up the dilemma among farmers where the crisis even forced some to close their dairy, poultry, and pig farms and turn to other businesses.
Government ready for the bumper harvest
Meanwhile, Agriculture and Livestock Development Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has assured farmers in Uasin Gishu that the government has set aside funds to purchase maize through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) this season following the expected bumper harvest.
The CS was accompanied by Principal Secretaries Kello Harsama (Crop development) and Jonathan Mueke (Livestock), who also announced that the Government has acquired 100 mobile dryers that will assist farmers in drying their grain.
According to Linturi, mobile dryers will enable farmers to preserve the quality of their maize and increase their income.
This is a significant development, as post-harvest losses have been a major challenge for farmers in the past,” he added
He, however, urged farmers to join cooperative societies, as they play a crucial role in supporting the growth and development of the agricultural sector by providing farmers with training, technical assistance, and market linkage opportunities.