By George Munene
According to animal feed retailers the price of feed is scheduled for a price hike as maize prices — the main component in most animal feeds — have increased from Sh 2,800 for a 90kg bag two months ago to Sh 3,300.
This rise has been driven by a shortage of maize in the country and a recently introduced cess on grains delivered to Nairobi, where most millers are headquartered, by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that took effect on 1st March.
Further, the government has imposed a 15% tax on rice bran; another key component in animal feeds; imported into the country from neighboring Uganda and Tanzania.
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Wellington Serem, an animal feed retailer in Eldoret, illuminated that the 17% increase in the price of maize for major millers, from whom they source maize meal (chenga chenga) and maize bran, and a new tax on imported rice bran will in short order be conveyed to the farmers.
“Maize constitutes up to 30 per cent of dairy meal, 70 per cent in poultry ration, and close to 50 per cent of pig feed. This makes it the most important component of any animal feed ration,” he explained.
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This will be unwelcome news for smallholder livestock keepers who are already paying exorbitant prices for feeds. A 70-kilogram bag of pig mash now retails for Sh 2,400 compared to last year while a kilogram of chicken feed will set you back Sh 5-15 more from this time last year.
Serem pointed out that this can be attributed to a dramatic rise in the price of key components that make up animal feeds over that time period: Cottonseed cake is up 70 per cent to Sh 60 a kilogram, Soya now sells for Sh 120 compared to Sh 70 in March last year. Sunflower cake has also had a double-digit price hike to Sh 35 compared to Sh 25. A 40-kilogram bag of wheat bran will now set you back Sh 1,000 — a Sh 200 price rise from last year.