Feed Manufactures and Livestock Stakeholders  Praise Government’s Decision to Lift Ban on GMOs in  Kenya

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Association Of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA) alongside other stakeholders (including farmer’s cooperatives, breeders, livestock producers and processors among others)has issued a statement on the then status of the animal feed sub-sector.  At the time, they petitioned the government to rescue the feed sector from eminent collapse due the escalating prices of raw materials used in feed milling.

The Government has since then made the decision to lift the ban on the importation and use of GMO products in the country. Accordingly, thank the Government for lifting the ban on GMOs – Kenya has lost two decades of scientific progress, and it is evident that the ban constrained bio innovation, research and entrepreneurship developments in this key frontier of science and knowledge.

Meanwhile, other countries have moved forward [the scientific community is now talking of genome editing and CRISPR-Cas9, whose discoverers won the Nobel Prize in the year 2020]. It is however, not too late, Kenya has the requisite capacity (human resources, physical infrastructure, Legal and regulatory framework) to catch up, and be the leader and a reference in the region. It should also be noted that products of biotechnology are now in widespread use in the realm of human and veterinary medicine (e.g in the management of diabetes, and development of vaccines etc)

In the dairy sector on average, Dairy meal is priced at Ksh.2,500 per 70kg bag; layers 70kg priced at Ksh.3, 500; broiler Starter mash 70kg at Ksh.4,750 while pig feed is averaging at Ksh.2,550 per 70kg bag. These prices are likely to go up again in the next one week due to the prevailing high cost of raw materials. Currently the price of one litre of processed milk has risen from Ksh.110 to Ksh140-150; a kg of broiler to Ksh.300 from 200 while a tray of egg is retailing at Ksh360 from Ksh.300 a month ago. These prices are being driven by a severe drop in the local supply.

Impact on the Economy and Social Enterprises

According to a study by ILRI (2018), Eggs, milk and meat are widely consumed in households as a major source of protein and accounting for nearly 40% of household’s food budget. Therefore, any change in the supply chain in the production and processing of the above, to which animal feeds play a critical factor, threatens the food security and nutrition pillar of the National Government Agenda.

Further, the situation has led to:

  1.  Farmers continuing to record low productivity due to not only shortage of fodder because of the prevailing drought but also the high cost of compounded feed. 
  2. Increased cost of eggs, meat and milk and related livestock products, which have become unaffordable to most households.
  3. Millers have experience reduced production capacity utilization to between 40-60% due to lack of raw material leading to job losses as well as reduced turnover and loss of tax revenue.
  4. Massive scaling down of livestock related businesses such as feed millers, poultry rearing, dairy cattle.
  5. Loss of the source of livelihood for livestock farmers who depend on compounded feeds as supplement to the fodder leading to increased poverty levels in Kenya.
  6. There is now increased importation of eggs from neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania

We therefore request the government:

  1. Not to relent in its determination to utilize all available options towards improving the food security situation in the country, including the adoption of bio-technology products such as GMO foods that have been tested and found safe and sound for human and animal consumption through the necessary peer review mechanisms and regulatory frameworks.
  2. Extend the Gazette notice to allow duty free importation of animal feed raw materials, which expires at the end of October 2022 to three years. This will make the options of where to source from more, especially yellow maize and Soya, and therefore more price competitiveness.
  3. Remove duty on all animal feed raw materials
  4. Convene stakeholders’ fora in all parts of the country to share the available information on the use, propagation and consumption of GMOs as well as review the role, use and farming of GMO materials for the exclusive use in the animal feed manufacturing sector.