Cattle and chicken farmers in Kenya faced with high cost of feed prices as supply falls
Higher maize prices have hit cattle and chicken farmers with manufacturers forced to raise the cost of animal feeds due to a sharp decline in the supply of the raw material.
Unga Group CEO Nick Hutchinson said prices of the feeds were revised two weeks ago to match the rising cost of maize.
On average, livestock feeds have gone up by between Sh50 and Sh70 per 50kg bag depending on the manufacturer. For instance, a 50 kilo bag of Pembe chick mash is selling at Sh2,400 from Sh2,330.
“We are buying a bag of maize meant for animal feeds at almost the same price as the one meant for human flour and this competition in the wake of dwindling supplies has seen an increase in the cost of animal feeds,” said Mr Hutchinson.
He said balancing the supply demand between humans and animals is a delicate act given that millers have to satisfy both markets.
Wairimu Kariuki, chairperson of Kenya Poultry Association, said the move to increase the price of animal feeds is a double tragedy for farmers given that the prices went up in 2013 when the 16 per cent VAT duty was imposed.
“This move will seriously affect production in the poultry sector because overheads are going to be high while returns will be low, making it hard for farmers to break even,” said Ms Kariuki.
She noted that if farmers raise the cost of animal products, consumption will drop and they will incur losses given that they must sell off their birds at a certain point.
“Broiler chickens have to be sold when they attain a certain age and farmers will have no alternative but to sell them off even if it’s at a lower price and that will lead to losses,” she said.
The government has announced plans to import yellow maize for production of animal feeds and spare white maize for flour to ease competition for the cereal.
Millers have over the years urged the government to allow them to import yellow maize duty free to be used for milling animal feeds.
A week ago, Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said there were 21 million bags of maize in the country as at the end of December.
Credit: Business Daily Africa
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