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Company opens new lab for animal nutrition to ensure higher quality feeds at low cost

animal feed

Evonik, a German chemical group, last week inaugurated its first laboratory for animal nutrition business in Nairobi to better evaluate their raw materials through accurate analysis of a wide range of nutrients to ensure high quality feeds at affordable price.

This comes at a time when only 28% of the feed manufactures in the country reported that they had their own feed analysis facilities (within their plants). The remaining number outsourced the services from various providers – commercial, research and academic labs, KEBs and private consultants at 41, 41, 4 and 1per cent, respectively. These are nutrition analysis service providers who have gone through the KEBS certification program and whose results are accepted.

The new Evonik laboratory therefore brings vital technical support to the local and regional feed markets. “We hope to extend the best levels of support to our partners not only in Kenya but in the entire East African region including countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda”, said John Owaga, Technical Service Manager for Animal Nutrition in East Africa at Evonik.

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Animal nutrition has become a more exact science over the past decades. To formulate feed according to a certain specification requires knowledge about the nutrient contents of all relevant raw materials. Since these vary considerably, it is important to analyse the raw materials on an ongoing basis with latest NIR technology (near-infrared spectroscopy). This ensures high feed quality and keeps feed costs under control.

“At Evonik, we see great potentials in the East African market coming from the double digit growth of the poultry industry in recent years”, commented Cuthbert Mamabolo, Regional Business Director for Animal Nutrition at Evonik.

Five years ago, Evonik established a direct presence in East Africa with a representative office in Kenya. However, the German speciality chemicals producer was active in this region for decades through external distributors. Today, Evonik caters to the feed industry for poultry, dairy, pigs and fish with key products such as MetAMINO®, Biolys®, Ecobiol®, Mepron® and CreAMINO®.

Evonik offers partners unique products and services with great emphasis on technical support that the company tailors to individual customer needs. Hence, opening a laboratory in Kenya is a key strategic decision taken to bring technology closer to the clients and better understand their needs.

Raw materials imports

Though kenya ia the leading in livestock sproduction, the country is importing raw materials from Uganda and Tanzania. The imported raw matrials include maize, wheat pollard, bran, sunflower cake and cotton seed cake.

According to Kenya Market Trust 2017 study, feed manufacturers in Kenya largely rely on by-products from food agroprocessing industries mainly sourced from neighbouring countries in the East Africa Community or imported from India and other international markets.

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The study established that maize, wheat and their products are the most dominant. Some raw materials like vitamins, mineral premixes and amino acids

Feed manufacturers

Over 90% of manufacturers are small scale operators producing less than 1000 tonnes per month. Only a few produce higher volumes (seven per cent producing 1000 – 5000 tonnes/month, and 2 – 3 per cent producing higher than that. Those producing the bulk of the high feed volumes are based in Nairobi and neighboring counties.

Poultry feed forms the largest proportion of the products manufactured (41per cent) followed closely by dairy feeds (39 per cent). The other feeds (four per cent of the total) include feeds for dogs, mice, rabbits, fish, horses, turkeys, as well as vitamin and mineral preparations and food microbes, according to Kenya Market Trust 2017 statistics.

Association of Kenya Feeds Manufacturers (AKEFEMA ) has 96 members.

Feed prices

Currently, the cost of 70 kilogrammes of dairy meal retails between Sh2,200 and Sh3,000 up from less than Sh1500, depending on the protein content of the feeds.

On average, livestock feeds costs between Sh50 and Sh70 per 50kg bag depending on the manufacturer. For instance, a 50 kilo bag of Pembe chick mash is selling at around Sh2,330 to Sh2,400.

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