Substandard animal feed on sale at local market

Over 90 percent of commercial feeds on sale in the local market have not been tested by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and other regulatory authorities, a new study has revealed.

The new report cites inability by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to regulate manufacturing of the animal feeds and manufacturers ignorance on how to formulate the raw materials.

The study -mapping animal feed manufactures and ingredients suppliers in Kenya carried out by the Kenya Market Trust (KMT) together with Agriculture ministry indicates that majority of millers were located in Nairobi and its environs and Nakuru county.

More than 90 percent are in small scale processing using locally produced materials. The concentration of feed producers and raw materials suppliers in and around urban areas affects availability, resulting in high transportation costs and high sale prices of the products in rural areas.

This could also be the reason for the proliferation of many small and medium scale millers to fill the gap, said Julius Nyagaga, a consultant with KMT.

Giving the report on Tuesday, Nyagaga said there was need for an improved and more effective regulation and monitoring of the activities of all actors dealing with livestock feeds.

The entry of many unregulated actors leads to poor quality feeds. They start as agents of raw materials, then acquire warehousing space and afterwards weighing machines and mixers to become feed producers, he explained.

The KEBS Managing Director, Charles Ongwae acknowledged that there has been a big challenge when it comes to animal feeds and solutions can only be found if only key players took action and sorted out the problems.

Transformation of the animal feed industry is not an option but a must, he said, and called on manufacturers to ensure they adhere to the regulations and work with the quality assurance officers assigned to them.

The KMT Chief Executive Officer, Kamau Kuria said although the animal feed industry has shown a steady growth, farmers continue producing below optimum due many challenges such as poor herd management, feeding of poor quality forages, crop residues and natural pastures that are of low nutritive value.

He said there was need to fast track the passage of Animal Feedstuff Bill 2016 that aims among other issues conformity to feed regulations.

The Study done last year with the objective of establishing factors that affect animal feeds in terms of costs and quality and the limitation of their use at farm level indicated that 70 percent of raw material suppliers do not certify ingredients, while 43 percent of the manufacturers do not certify their products.

In addition, the study showed only 45 per cent of ingredient suppliers are registered with KEBS.

Kenya dairy sector has in the recent years shown a steady growth and currently contributes 40 per cent of the agricultural input, which accounts for 4 per cent of the national GDP.

Source: Kenya News Agency