Yellow maize imports have pushed down the price of raw material for animal feed manufacturers by 15 per cent, signalling a reprieve to dairy farmers who have been paying high costs.
A 90-kilogramme bag of maize is now selling at Sh2,700 in Nairobi from Sh3,200 last month as the market responds to an increase in supply in the market.
Animal Feed Manufacturers association chairperson Joseph Karauri said some of the traders who have been hoarding maize are now releasing it to the market at a lower cost as they rush to clear their stocks before more imports arrive.
“The prices have been coming down of late mainly driven by yellow maize imports, which has forced traders who have been hoarding stocks in anticipation of a shortage to release the grain to the market,” said Mr Karauri.
He said farmers should expect the prices of animal feeds to come down starting August.
Millers are paying Sh2,900 for a 90 kilogramme bag of yellow maize when it lands in Nairobi, which is slightly higher than the Sh2700 that they are paying for the white produce.
The government allowed millers to import two million bags of yellow maize at 10 per cent duty to address the shortage of the commodity locally.
The import window will be closing at the end of this month with all the millers who had been licensed to ship in the commodity expected to have completed the process. Those who will import after the expiry of the window will have to pay a 50 per cent duty.
Six processors including Unga Limited, Isinya Feeds, Mombasa Millers, Sigma and Pembe millers were licensed to import the grain. Small scale millers, who did not have financial muscle to import are buying from their larger counterparts.
Animal feed makers normally use the same white maize that millers use in making flour for human consumption, even though it differs in standards.
The retail price of animal feed has remained at a three-year high since January with a 70-kilogramme bag of chick mash rising to Sh3,600 from Sh3,300 previously while growers mash is retailing at Sh3,100 from Sh2,800.
Standard dairy meal is selling at Sh2,500 from Sh2,200.