Animal feed manufacturers now want the Agriculture ministry to consider the importation of genetically modified yellow maize and soya beans to address the high production costs that have driven up consumer food prices.
Their plea follows a directive President Uhuru Kenyatta issued last week to the ministry to look into possible interventions that will lower the high cost of feed.
The millers had in August urged the government to allow them to import the organically modified organisms (GMO) raw material for the processing of feeds. However, the State declined to allow it, citing the existing ban on importation of GMOs to Kenya that was put in place in 2012.
“The most appropriate intervention is to allow the importation of GMO yellow maize and soya beans, this is what the ministry should have in mind as they meet to discuss the solution,” said the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers.
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga told the Business Daily in an interview that the best measure to lower the current cost of feeds is to give a waiver on importation of raw material.
“I think the best thing at the moment is to remove the duty on raw material,” said Prof Boga, without giving further details as the ministry is yet to settle the finer details of the intervention measures.
The sector faces a shortage of key ingredients such as soya, sunflower and cottonseed cake, which are key protein components for animal feeds.
Kenya relies on imports of sunflower seed cake from Tanzania while soya is imported from Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.
Zambia recently dealt the feeds industry a blow with a suspension of exports of soya bean meal and sunflower seed cake. The price of soya has, therefore, risen to Sh130 per kilo from Sh65 last year.
As a result, the price of a 70-kilogramme bag of the dairy meal has gone up from Sh2,500 in August 2020 to Sh3,400 currently, chick marsh is retailing at Sh4,200 from Sh3,250 while layers marsh is now selling at Sh3,800 from Sh3,100.