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Animal feed makers petition for GMO ban lift to cut feed prices

ANIMALFEED

Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers secretary general Martin Kinoti and chairman Joseph Karuri during an August 30 press briefing in Nairobi on the high cost of feed ingredients. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

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Summary

  • Livestock breeders and feed makers want Parliament to lift the ban on genetically modified (GMO) products that are vital in the manufacture of animal feed to cut the rising prices.
  • Five representatives of livestock breeders and animal feed manufacturers have petitioned MPs to investigate the high import costs and lift the ban.
  • The petitioners also want MPs to recommend immediate ban on wheat bran exports to stabilise the local animal feed market.

Livestock breeders and feed makers want Parliament to lift the ban on genetically modified (GMO) products that are vital in the manufacture of animal feed to cut the rising prices.

Five representatives of livestock breeders and animal feed manufacturers have petitioned MPs to investigate the high import costs and lift the ban.

The petitioners also want MPs to recommend immediate ban on wheat bran exports to stabilise the local animal feed market.

They also want the lawmakers to amend the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act, 2013 and other relevant tax laws to remove tax on animal products.

“My office is in receipt of a petition on an unprecedented rise in prices of animal feeds occasioned by policy goals that has resulted in high prices of Soyabean, sunflower and cotton.

“The petitioners are also worried of the unregulated importation of animal feed additives,” Speaker Justin Muturi said.

He directed the Agriculture Committee to immediately look into the issues raised by the livestock producers and investigate their concerns within the shortest time possible.

The cost of making animal feeds has been on the rise, forcing up to 20 manufacturers to close shop amid low demand from farmers due to pricing.

The cost of items such as soya meal, which is normally imported from countries like Malawi, Zambia and Uganda have gone up.

The Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufacturers in February said the price of soya, which is the most expensive of the supplements used in making animal feeds, went up to Sh83 from Sh53 at the beginning of December last year.

The 57 percent jump in price of soya is the biggest in the last two years with the cost of production becoming unbearable to some of the millers who have had to shut their businesses as they cannot sustain the ever-rising cost of material.

The cost of animal feeds has subsequently gone up across all the meal types, which are now retailing at an average of Sh100 more than the previous cost.

The cost of a 70-kilogramme bag of chick mash has risen from Sh3,250 to Sh4,200.

This move has hit farmers as the price of eggs has so far dropped from a high of Sh360 a tray early in the year to Sh340.

This implies that the producers are struggling with lower margins, making it difficult to continue with the business.

MPs yesterday acknoledged the high costs of animal feeds arguing most millers cannot break even to pay their workers and keep on running their entities profitably.

The processors are also projecting that the cost of other major supplements such as sunflower cake, which is mainly imported from Tanzania and Uganda, will go up due to a weaker shilling against the dollar.