Kenya commits to develop its feed and fodder sector

Aron Kangwony at his Vetiver grass farm at home in Tilomwonin village in Kamnarok that lies on the base of Kerio Valley belt in Baringo County on August 25, 2022. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Kenya has committed to developing its feed and fodder sector in a bid to promote economic growth and create job opportunities.

Through the African Union-InterAfrican for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems and other interventions, the Kenyan government said it has set a strategy to overcome the challenges.

Like in many other African countries, Kenya’s feed and fodder sector has been hard hit by the adverse effects of climate change, the global Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya’s livestock populations are estimated at 4 million heads of exotic dairy cattle, 16 million heads of indigenous cattle, 24 million heads of hair sheep, 34 million heads of indigenous goats, 4 million heads of camels, 48 million indigenous poultry.

Director of Livestock Production, State Department for Livestock Bishal Fille Elmi said there is a need for the intensification of livestock production to meet the increasing demands for livestock products.

This, he said, involves practices towards disease control and the use of improved breeds or cross-breeding techniques as well as feeding management.

“Substantial intensification of livestock in Kenya recognises that there is a hierarchy in the triple bottom line. The economy is contained in healthy people, and the people are contained inside the planet,” he said.

In a statement read by Senior Deputy Director of Livestock Production Elizabeth Mutisya at the ongoing Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) Project Technical and Steering Committee meeting hosted by AU-IBAR, Elmi said better cared for animals require fewer resources and can lead to a reduction in greenhouse gasses emissions and smaller environmental footprint.

Among the interventions set in place for Kenya is the need to promote 10 feed value chains projected to be established on a 5.4-million-acre piece of land.

“These will yield 33 million metric tons (MT) of dry matter (DM) at a total cost of Sh465 billion in the next 10 years while generating 145,000 jobs annually,” he said.

Elmi’s sentiments were echoed by the Head of Animal Feeds and Nutrition at the Ministry of Agriculture Dr Stanley Mutua who said to support Kenya’s feed and nutrition security systems, there is a need for harnessing evidence-based and data-driven solutions for short-term interventions.

Mutua further insisted on the need to involve women in the sector.

He said limited access to finance impedes the growth of small-scale players and more so women, hindering their ability to invest in modern technologies and quality control measures.

“Climate variability and insufficient infrastructure further add complexity to the supply chain, threatening the stability and efficiency of the sector,” said Mutua.

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