COSTLY

Act fast to reduce animal feeds prices, farmers tell Ruto

Poultry farmers association says growers using unregulated feeding methods

In Summary
  • The costs of animal feeds have been rising since 2020, with the price increases attributed to a shortage of raw materials such as maize, soya and oil cakes seeing the most significant price increases.
  • The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) attributed the surge to the price of soya and oil cakes having increased by more than 60 per cent in 2021.
One-day old chicks that are being produced at the Dairy Research Institute in KALRO-Naivasha and are destined for farmers in Uasin Gishu County.
One-day old chicks that are being produced at the Dairy Research Institute in KALRO-Naivasha and are destined for farmers in Uasin Gishu County.
Image: AGATHA NGOTHO

The Federation of Kenya Poultry Farmers (FKPF) want the state to instigate measures to reduce the high prices of broiler and layers’ feeds saying the prices are hurting farmers’ production.

Saying poultry farmers have been forced to dig deeper into their pockets to buy the feeds, the farmers want President William Ruto to urgently resolve the matter.

In 2020, a 70kg bag of layers mash was going at Sh1,875 and today the average cost is Sh3,500-Sh3,600, while Chick Mash prices were Sh2,300 and now the average cost is Sh3800.

“It is unfortunate that most farmers have stopped buying feeds and resulted to alternative feeding techniques that don’t provide the essential nutrients to chickens,” John Njeha, a manager at Kiambu Poultry Cooperative Society said.

The costs of animal feeds have been rising since 2020, with the price increases attributed to a shortage of raw materials such as maize, soya and oil cakes seeing the most significant price increases.

The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) attributed the surge to the price of soya and oil cakes having increased by more than 60 per cent in 2021.

“The immediate impact of the rising feed prices has been losses by farmers amidst sticky output prices. As a result, farmers are cutting back production, and as a consequence, animal feed manufacturers are also being adversely affected,” AKAFEMA said in a new report of a study conducted by Tegemeo Institute.

The report cited that farmers are abandoning livestock enterprises such as poultry and that small-scale feed manufacturers have reported closures staging massive job losses.

FKPF through their President Monica Wanjiru urged the government to consider the animal feeds sub-sector long-term competitiveness.

“This needs to include importing semi-processed products such as crushed maize, soy cake and adopting sorghum farming,” Wanjiru said.

This is amid concerns that the costly feeds have seen a reduction in local production, opening floodgates for imports of chicken and eggs, to the detriment of the poultry farmers.

Recently, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said the government was in talks with millers on a price reduction strategy.

But farmers are pessimistic and want immediate results, citing unfulfilled past promises.

A preliminary result from feed trials being conducted in Kenya shows that broiler performance improved when grain sorghum was part of the feed ration.

Reece Cannady, the global trade manager at the USA Grain Council, said that the council is trying to expand sorghum's global reach and sub-Saharan is one of the markets.

“Because sub-Saharan Africa is a rapidly growing region in terms of population and is experiencing a feed deficit, it is an ideal destination for US sorghum. Specifically related to Kenya, USGC helped facilitate two feed trials there. One of those trials was for a sorghum-based feed in broiler diets and another in layers,” he said.

The firm shipped 60 metric tons of grain sorghum to a leading feed miller in Kenya, with half of the tonnage being used in the layer trial and the other half in the broiler trial.

Cannady said the USGC instructed them on how to process it into a fine powder, and make it fully digestible so there would be no whole berries that would “go straight through the bird.”

Cannady said the broiler feed trial has been completed, while the layer feed trial is wrapping up. The results are “being put into a table and a digestible format,” he said.

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