PRODUCTION COSTS

Eggs, milk prices remain high as farmers await state's GMO approvals

The ministry is yet to publish the notice that would make the review on animal feeds importation operational.

In Summary

•Livestock PS Harry Kimtai said the Ministry of Agriculture had decided to review the framework on importation of yellow maize by lowering the requirement to 99.1 per cent GMO free from 100 per cent.

•The government last month announced its move to relax conditions on importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) materials for animal feed manufacture.

Zachary Munyambu from Ngoigwa area in Thika, Kiambu County downsized the number of birds from 3,800 in 2020 to the current number of 1,200 birds due to high cost of animal feeds.
Zachary Munyambu from Ngoigwa area in Thika, Kiambu County downsized the number of birds from 3,800 in 2020 to the current number of 1,200 birds due to high cost of animal feeds.
Image: AGATHA NGOTHO

The persistent high cost of animal feeds and supply chain difficulties will continue to make eggs and milk expensive, manufacturers have said.

This, as delays on approval of GMO raw material imports play out.

The government last month announced its move to relax conditions on importation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) materials for animal feed manufacture.

Livestock PS Harry Kimtai said the Ministry of Agriculture had decided to review the framework on importation of yellow maize by lowering the requirement to 99.1 per cent GMO free from 100 per cent.

This meant that imports would be allowed to have traces of genetically modified organisms in bid to resolve the shortage of feeds.

However, the ministry is yet to publish the notice that would make the review operational.

Consequently, manufacturers have refused to import the produce under the current total GMO purity requirement for fear that the shipments will be confiscated by Kenyan authorities since it is difficult to find stocks that are free from genetic modification.

An inquiry by the Star found out that the price of a 70-kilogramme bag of dairy meal has gone up from Sh2,500 in August last year to Sh3,400, chick marsh is retailing at Sh4,200 from Sh3,250 while layers is now selling at Sh3,800 from Sh3,100.

The high prices has already affected prices of eggs, milk and other animal products.

A spot check by the Star on Sunday shows that a crate is currently retailing at Sh480 in Nairobi which is up from the roughly Sh360 it cost in February. One egg continues to sell at the all-time high of Sh15 to Sh17 from Sh12 previously.

Milk prices on the other hand, rose last week as the Kenya Dairy Board announced 15 per cent drop in monthly production.

A 500ml packet of milk has gone up by between Sh5 to Sh10. Many brands are retailing at between Sh50 to Sh55, an increase from between Sh45 to Sh50 per 500ml packet. Long-life milk is selling at Sh60 from Sh55 but it has become scarce.

However, farm gate prices of milk have increased from an average of Sh35 -Sh40 to the current price of between Sh45-Sh50 per litre. This is despite production of  dairy cow reducing from about 20 litres per day to about 12 litres.

The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) has said the sector is facing a myriad of challenges that are impacting negatively on the industry.

AKEFEMA Secretary General Martin Kinoti in an interview with the Star confirmed that the country is facing a crisis in the animal feeds sector.

He said the price of raw materials for animal feeds has skyrocketed occasioned by a bad maize harvest season in the region which include Tanzania and Uganda.

Maize prices have increased by Sh600, from Sh2,500 per 90kg bag in December 2021 to current price of Sh3,100.  

"The prices of wheat internationally has gone up significantly and we use products of wheat to make animal feeds. So now food is being imported from Uganda which is impacting farmers in Kenya," Kinoti said.


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