Government allows importation of duty-free livestock raw feeds

Agriculture CS Peter Munya. [Phares Mutembei, Standard]

The government is working on modalities to help farmers access affordable fertiliser and livestock feeds to enhance production and improve earnings.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya noted that high costs of inputs had burdened farmers and demoralised them from expanding their ventures in agricultural sub-sectors.

Munya disclosed that the government has allowed animal feed manufacturers to import duty-free raw materials that will help lower the cost of feeds for farmers.

A waiver on import duty for yellow maize for the processing of livestock feeds, the CS said, will run for one year.

He expressed optimism that agriculture stakeholders will also come up with other innovative measures to further lower the cost of feeds.

Munya spoke at Sirwo Canes Haven in Trans Nzoia County during an agricultural exhibition dubbed ‘Wine and Cheese’ Agro fest.

He was accompanied by Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu, former nominated MP Ziporah Kittony, Managing Directors Fred Oloibei (Kenya Seed Company) and Nixon Sigey (New Kenya Corporative Creameries), Nairobi Securities Exchange chairman Kiprono Kittony and Trans-Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba.

Munya stated that only livestock feed manufactures will be allowed to import yellow maize to lock out cartels bent on taking advantage to import cheaper white maize, which would cause unfavourable competition with local produce.

A waiver on import duty for yellow maize for the processing of livestock feeds will run for one year. [Courtesy]

He, at the same time, advised farmers to grow their own feeds to reduce manufacturing costs. 

The CS noted that dependency on raw materials for animal feeds from other countries is a big hurdle since manufacturers dictate prices depending on market forces, which is beyond the government’s control.

Munya also welcomed private investors who wish to grow raw materials to lease land from the government at better rates as a way of addressing the challenge of raw materials for feeds.

The government, the CS added, is establishing a board that will regulate and inspect the quality of inputs including fertiliser and feeds.

“We want farmers to access high-quality inputs and achieve better yields. This will be possible with a board in place that will regulate the sub-sectors,” he said.

Munya also said the government had increased the price of maize from Sh 1,750 per 90 kg bag to Sh 2,500 through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).

“We do not have raw materials for fertiliser manufacturing and so, when the world prices change, we are also affected and especially now when the shilling has dropped against the dollar,” said Munya.

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba challenged farmers to invest in value addition for them to maximize profits in the market.

“I challenge stakeholders in the maize sub-sector to ‘value add’ products so that we can have increased income,” he said.

The county chief observed that fertiliser prices had increased three-fold to over Sh 5,000 per 50-kilogramme bag and called on the CS to intervene before the next planting season.

KSC MD, Mr Oloibei, lauded Munya for measures geared towards revolutionising the agricultural sector.

Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Oloibei assured farmers of adequate stock of quality and certified seeds for the next planting season, even as he emphasised the need for farmers to choose quality inputs.

His NKCC counterpart, Mr Sigey, outlined improvements in the dairy sector, saying milk prices had increased from about Sh33 to about Sh45 per litre in the recent past.

Fanisi Fertilisers project engineer Arjun Paunrana disclosed that the company has invested in a new fertiliser product that helps reduce soil acidity levels, which affects production.

“We are working to ensure that the soil pH levels are reduced from acidic nature to partially alkaline so that it can be favourable and guarantee increased production to at least 40 bags of maize from an acre of land,” he said.

Mr Orlando, the Standard Group CEO, said the media group has platforms that highlight information on agriculture as a way of enhancing the sector.

“I am delighted to convey that we have products that address issues on agriculture and there is much information shared among agricultural stakeholders for the purpose of improving the sector,” he stated.

Farmers who attended the exhibition were issued with free copies of the Standard Newspaper as a way to ensure the spread of information.