The price of animal feeds is expected to rise following delays in publishing changes to GMO rules governing the importation of yellow maize in the Kenya Gazette, hampering the purchase of the produce by millers amid the rising cost of the commodity.
The government announced last month that it had lowered the requirement on the purity of yellow maize to be imported by processors to 99.1 percent from 100 percent, meaning that imports would be allowed to have traces of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
“In March 2022, the working committee convened and approved the proposal to change the purity level as an immediate measure to mitigate the dwindling source of raw materials,” said Joseph Karuri, chairperson of the Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufactures.
“Unfortunately, the notice has not been published and neither measure(s) have been undertaken to resolve the crisis in the livestock feed sub-sector almost a year since we raised the red flag.”
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.
The processors say the cost of animal feeds will be going up on weekly basis starting this week on the back of the skyrocketing price of white maize in the market that has so far hit a high of Sh3,700 from Sh2,800 previously for a 90 kilogramme bag.
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.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai, who is the chair of the working committee said they have been waiting for guidance from the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and that is why the process of gazettement has taken long.
“I have received the guidelines from the National Biosafety Authority and have instructed my officers to prepare an addendum that will be forwarded to my Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, who will in turn forward to his counterpart at the Treasury for gazetting,” said Mr Kimtai.