The price of animal feeds has shot up to historic levels as attempts to ship in yellow maize to curb the rising cost flopped with millers citing a shorter import window.
The price of a 70 kilogramme bag of layers marsh has now jumped to Sh4,500 from Sh3,800 in April, chick mash is going for Sh4,940 from Sh4,200 while dairy meal is now selling at Sh2,850 from Sh2,500, pointing to tough times for consumers who will have to absorb extra cost when buying animal products such as eggs.
The government opened the import window for duty-free yellow maize last November and is expected to close it at the end of October. The millers have not shipped in the commodity since then, citing the difficulty of securing the produce that is free of genetically modified organisms (GMO).
The government only authorised the importation of yellow maize with a trace of GMO last month.
Millers say they cannot ship in the commodity due to a shorter period remaining and the longer time that it would take before the grain docks at the port.
“We cannot import the yellow maize now unless the window is extended. This means that the price of feeds will continue to rise in the coming days unless we get sufficient raw material for processing,” said Joseph Karuri, chairman of the Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturers.
Mr Karuri said that it would take at least three months before the yellow maize gets to the country because of the longer route that it would have to take following the interruption of trade along the Black Sea, which was occasioned by the ongoing Ukraine-Russian war.
“The available yellow maize in Ukraine has to pass through Romania, this means that it would not get in the country on time and no miller is willing to risk only to be caught by the deadline,” he said.
At least 10 manufacturers have been allowed to import 28 million kilogrammes of GMO cotton seed for processing of animal feeds as the government moves to arrest the rising cost of livestock meals in the country.