Cabinet approves duty free yellow maize imports

Relief is in sight for dairy farmers after the government announced duty free importation of yellow maize and lifting taxes on animal feeds to ease the cost of meals for livestock.

President William Ruto’s cabinet sitting in Sagana, Nyeri, approved duty free importation of raw materials for processing of animal feeds in a bid to appease dairy farmers in the Mount Kenya backyard.

Kenya has been hit by animal feed shortage with the country’s annual demand for livestock feed standing at 55 million metric tonnes against a production of 22 million metric tonnes leading to high prices.

Climate change, Covid-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war had contributed to the rise in prices and shortage of livestock feeds that saw Kenya lose 2.5 million livestock due to lack of pasture and water.

The prices of dairy feeds have almost doubled while hay has become scarce on account of the recent drought.

A 70-kilo bag of dairy meal that used to retail at Kes1800 now goes for Kes3200 while hay is currently unavailable prompting farmers to rely on free range grazing hence affecting production.

Read also: Animal feed production falls to half of demand

Maize stalks for silage

State officials like Kenya National Farmers Federation (Kenaff) representative have even been telling dairy farmers from North Rift to intercrop their maize farms with sunflower and use maize stalks for silage to cushion them during the time of need later in the year.

To address the acute short-age, the government also said it has also identified five value chains of hay, sorghum, cotton, sunflower and silage as one way of filling the deficit.

But the shortage has persisted with intense lobbying Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua for imports of duty free yellow maize.

Animal feed processors now have thrie wish as President William Ruto tours the restive mount Kenya to buttress support for his regime.

President William Ruto said his government has removed taxes on animal feed products and authorized importation of yellow maize and other animal feeds duty free to help bring down the cost of producing meat and dairy products.

The President also said they have set aside Kes3 billion to modernise infrastructure of the dairy sector over a span of three years and another Sh8 billion for milk coolers, targeting Nyambene, Miritini and Kitale.

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