Feed manufacturers and livestock farmers urged to innovate amid rising feed costs
By Joseph Maina
Amidst the escalating costs of key components used in feed manufacturing, feed manufacturers and livestock farmers are being encouraged to explore creative methods to enhance the nutrient content of their feeds without compromising the optimal production costs.
The costs of feed have particularly been affected by the costs of maize, which is widely used in most feeds, and whose costs have risen significantly in the past.
“The costs of feed have really gone up,” said Douglas Malala, the Business Manager for Evonik Africa (Pty) Ltd. “We need to look for new avenues of lowering prices.”
Malala said that under normal circumstances, the costs of feeds has been between 60-70 per cent of production. However, this has changed in recent times, leading to higher production costs, a fact that he said is largely due to the rising costs of maize.
“For example, if you’re doing poultry or pig farming, around 70 per cent of your production costs would go to feed. But in the recent past, maize prices – the biggest component of feed – rose from around Ksh3000 to Ksh6,500.”
He said added that with maize forming up to 60 per cent in the composition of feeds, the rise in prices of the commodity has seen the prices of the feeds shooting up by up to 50 per cent.
He was speaking during a seminar held in Nairobi recently for stakeholders in the feeds manufacturing sector. Attendees included major feed millers and farmers. The seminar had been organised by Evonik in conjunction with Essential Drugs Ltd, a distributor of pharmaceutical, veterinary, vitamins, feeds, food raw materials and additives.
In the seminar, Evonik Africa (Pty) Ltd showcased some of its technological products that it said are aimed at reducing the costs of feed production.
“We have demonstrated the use of our products, which include various amino acids vital to produce feeds. We have also had a discussion on gut health products, which help reduce antibiotic use in feed, as well as energy-conserving products,” he said.