Despite the extension of the duty waiver for manufacturers to import raw materials, the prices of animal feed in Kenya continue to remain high, mainly due to the scarcity and elevated cost of critical raw materials like soya beans and maize in the global market. The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) highlighted that while the government’s extension of the duty waiver aimed to alleviate the situation, it will take some time for the prices of animal feed to stabilize.

John Gathogo, a representative from AKEFEMA, emphasized that the current prices of animal feed are primarily attributed to the scarcity and high cost of essential raw materials such as soya beans and maize. Despite the request for an extension of the duty waiver on raw materials like yellow maize, soya bean meals, and vitamin premixes, prices are yet to stabilize.

The government’s extension of the duty waiver was granted through a gazette notice issued on August 11, 2023, and was set to remain in effect until February 2024. However, the scarcity of maize in traditional import markets like Zambia and Uganda, coupled with Tanzania’s limited export of the commodity, has caused challenges in sourcing raw materials.

Gathogo expressed concerns about the increasing cost of soya beans, which has risen from Sh75 per kilo to Sh100 within the past two weeks, further contributing to the elevated cost of animal feed production. He acknowledged that while the duty waiver could potentially alleviate some of these challenges, the fluctuating prices of raw materials in the global market remain a significant factor.

The animal feed industry has been significantly impacted by the scarcity and cost of raw materials, leading to increased prices for products such as dairy meal, layers, and growers mash. Currently, a 70 kg bag of dairy meal is being sold at Sh3,000, layers at Sh4,500, and growers mash at Sh3,500 per bag.

Gathogo projected that without interventions, the prices could potentially rise by Sh500 per bag. However, he remains optimistic that prices could stabilize if the dollar’s exchange rate decreases from Sh150 to a range of Sh130 to Sh120. Such a shift could make the cost of importing raw materials more affordable, subsequently impacting the prices of animal feed.

Despite the challenges, Gathogo highlighted a renewed interest among farmers in returning to the agricultural sector, particularly in poultry farming. Over the past two years, many farmers in the poultry and dairy sectors had to abandon their ventures due to the high cost of animal feed. Gathogo noted that the market is showing signs of opening up, with increased demand for poultry products like eggs and meat.

Poultry farmers are particularly keen on making a comeback; however, a challenge remains in the shortage of one-day-old chicks. Gathogo expressed that once hatcheries are able to provide a consistent supply of one-day-old chicks, the poultry sub-sector will experience a resurgence.

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