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Agriculture CS given a week to formulate plan to reduce cost of animal feed

President Uhuru Kenyatta during Mashujaa Day celebrations at Wang'uru Stadium, Kirinyaga County.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the Agriculture CS, jointly with the National Treasury, to issue within seven days, a framework that will facilitate the reduction of the cost of animal and chicken feed. 

He set in place measures to aid several agriculture subsectors in his Mashujaa Day goodies for farmers. 

Effective November 1, Uhuru said the new stimulus programme will target the key productive and service sectors.

They include interventions in the tea subsector, which he said will safeguard the gains made in the industry.

"I direct the National Treasury to allocate Sh1 billion in support of fertilizer subsidy for small-scale tea farmers," he said.

Speaking at the Mashujaa Day fete in Kirinyaga county, the President said in the sugar sub-sector, to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers within our nation’s sugar belt, Treasury has been urged to allocate an additional Sh1.5 billion that will be appropriated towards factories maintenance and payment of farmer’s arrears. 

In the coffee sub-sector, in acknowledgment of the pace of the ongoing reforms, Uhuru directed Treasury to allocate Sh1 billion to the Agriculture ministry for the completion of the ongoing targeted interventions.

The fourth intervention is in the livestock sector. "Noting the effects of the ongoing drought situation, I direct the Treasury to allocate Sh1.5 billion in support of the communities affected by the ongoing drought as part of the National Livestock Offtake Programme."

This comes as milk production by farmers from Githunguri Dairy Co-operative Society has dropped by 2 million litres amid the rising cost of production.

This year, the society's 11,300 farmers delivered 81 million litres of milk compared to 83 million litres the previous year, a drop that has been attributed to animal disease and the high cost of inputs.

As farmers decry the increased prices of chicken feed, some say there is a need for genetically modified supplies.

Speaking during a past interview in Thika, Kenchic broiler farm operations manager Julian Davidson said while the government has banned GM food in Kenya, it has not offered farmers an economical alternative.

The Government of Kenya on November 8, 2012, through a Cabinet decision, instituted a ban on importation of all GM food into the country. The ban is still in force.

The African Union is developing guidelines for the use of genetically modified (GM) crops across the continent, officials said, amid criticism from campaigners that some policies favour big business and lack adequate public input.

Despite a concerted push by donor-funded schemes to expand the use of such crops in Africa, they have not been widely adopted by the millions of small-scale farmers that make up the backbone of the agricultural sector.

On his part, veterinary Dr Watson Messo said the most affected by the increased feed prices are the smallscale farmers who cannot afford the expensive product.

Davidson said if GMO feed will not be introduced, the current prices ought to be reduced by at least Sh10 a kilo.

A 70kg bag of chick mash now goes for Sh3,330 while for layers, the price is Sh2,650.

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