Livestock farmers should brace for increased cost of animal feeds following a steep rise in cost of imported Ugandan maize the manufacturers are currently using following a shortage of local grain.
Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturers (Akefema) says the cost has shot up from Sh1,400 per 90-kilo bag two months ago to current Sh2,100 while they are hardly getting any maize from local farmers.
Association publicity and marketing chairman John Gathogo says manufacturers are also having difficulties obtaining enough stocks in Uganda and the current holdings are about to be depleted.
“There has been steep rise in the cost at which we buy maize from Uganda and we are afraid that an increase in cost of animal feeds will be inevitable,” said Mr Gathogo.
A 70-kilo bag of layers’ mash is currently retailing at Sh3,200 while the dairy meal is going for Sh2,300.
Animal feeds are made from the same white maize consumed by humans, creating stiff competition between animals and people. At the moment farmers are hoarding maize as they wait for a better price from the government.
The growers have protested the Sh2,300 the government has offered for a 90 kilo bag of the produce claiming that it is not enough given high cost of production.
The price was lowered from Sh3,200 of last year with the State planning to buy two million bags for the Strategic Food Reserve out of the projected harvest of 46 million.
The cost of animal feeds will also be impacted negatively by prices of other key ingredients used in manufacturing. For instance, the price of soya has shot to a high of Sh70 a kilo from previous Sh55 previously.
Kenya gets most of its soya, cotton cake and sunflower from Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.