Kenya’s animal feeds sector poised for take-off as stakeholders agree on interventions

Kenya’s animal feed sector is poised for growth following an Industry Roundtable, to discuss issues, opportunities, and threats facing the sector.

The meeting was convened by Lattice Africa and Larive International in conjunction with ASNET (Agricultural Sector Network – the agricultural sector arm of KEPSA).

The event was graced by the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Maarten Brouwer.

“Kenya imports 60% of the 55 million metric tons of animal feeds that it uses.  Further, 70% of the inputs used in local feed production are imported,” said Livestock Principal Secretary Jonathan Mueke in a speech read on his behalf by the Secretary of Administration in the Ministry, Dr. Joshua Chepchieng.

‘’This makes the cost of feeds vulnerable to events outside the control of actors in the sector. In the last few years, we have seen the war in Ukraine, and the rising dollar as examples of extraneous factors that have made animal feeds unaffordable for livestock, poultry, and fish farmers,” he added.

“Improvements in the quality of feed would contribute to productivity growth thus increasing jobs and incomes in the animal feeds and livestock sector,” said Dr. Joshua Chepchieng.

Agatha Thuo, CEO, Agricultural Sector Network said the high cost of feeds is further driven up by the competition between human food and animal feeds particularly maize and protein supplements.

Professor Charles Gachuiri of the University of Nairobi on his part said constraints in quantity are rooted in the fact that locally produced grains are rain-fed. “Kenya’s erratic rainfall pattern thus result in highly variable grain production volumes,” he said .

According to Paul Kamau, CEO of the Association of Kenya Feed Millers (AKEFEMA) challenges in quality arise from weaknesses in feed formulation, analysis, testing, and enforcement. He continued to say that AKEFEMA is working with millers to improve standards.

To solve these challenges, the workshop discussed pathways to expand the use of alternative ingredients including sorghum as an alternative to maize, protein alternates such as black soldier fly and high protein forage plants, as well as new grass varieties for fodder.

Maarten Brouwer on his part provided examples from Narok and Migori of livestock farmers who were enjoying better quality feeds at lower prices with resultant higher yields because of interventions funded by the Netherlands government.

He added that investment and innovation in Kenya’s livestock sector has potential for driving economic growth, improving livelihoods, and ensuring food security.

He noted that by leveraging technology, sustainable practices, and strategic partnerships, this will contribute to the transformation and resilience of the sector.

Joe Maye, Director at Lattice, talked about FeedTech Kenya’s interventions to improve quality and affordability of feed. FeedTech Kenya, a consortium of Dutch and Kenyan companies funded by the Dutch embassy, has run alternative feed trials with 178 dairy, pig, and poultry farmers, disseminating best practices in feed production and management. The program has trained 29 millers in good manufacturing practice and tested 75 alternative ingredients.

The round table discussion had a broad representation of stakeholders across the animal feed value chain, including the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers, producer organizations, private laboratories, policy research organizations, academia, the Ministry of Agriculture, and other institutions.

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