Kenya requires 55 million metric tonnes of dry matter animal feed annually but only produces 40 per cent leaving a huge supply gap of 33 million metric tonnes, the head of Animal Feeds and Nutrition Services at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Stanley Mutua, has revealed. Dr. Mutua further revealed that out of the 40 per cent dry matter feed produced in the country every year, half of it goes to waste due to post-harvest losses, making the country rely on imports from the region, which is not sustainable. Consequently, he said the government is working with other development partners to introduce feed investment planning and has prioritised 10 feed value chains totaling 2.2 million acres around the country. This, he says, will help produce 4.3 billion bales of hay every year through an investment of 3.4 million dollars (Sh. 480 billion) spread over 10 years through funding from Bill and Melinda Gates Fountain through the African Union-Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and the Kenyan Government. He was speaking in Naivasha during the launch of the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems Kenyan Chapter, which will see the government spend 3.4 million US dollars in the next 10 years to bridge the 33 million metric tonnes of feed and fodder deficit. Mutua said the land for the project had already been identified and will employ climate-smart agriculture to produce quality animal feeds that will benefit over 3 million small-holder farmers, especially women, to grow the feed and fodder that the country needs. The livestock health expert from the Livestock Department said livestock feed and fodder in the country are dire and need serious interventions, and the issue of pot-harvest losses needs to be addressed. 'We need to focus on self-sufficiency as far as matters of livestock feeds and fodder are concerned, and we need to produce more as we focus on strategic supply and production-seeds, fertiliser, and agrochemicals for this production, 'Dr. Mutua stated. In the same breath, he observed that the country needs to scale up production from a small scale to a large scale, which requires mechanisation in order to make the country self-sufficient in livestock feed and fodder production. 'We will also invest in feed storage and conservation to avoid wastage and value addition for enhanced utilisation as we create linkages between producers and consumers so that the feed value chain is complete,' Mutua said. He noted that the government's national feed strategy will help to address animal feeds and water shortages for livestock, feed quality by looking at energy, oil crops, and protein-rich feeds, costs, and weak policies, and strengthen feed data and information systems to inform better and more timely interventions. In addition, Dr. Mutua said the national government is already implementing various projects for fodder commercialization in the counties to help cushion farmers and other actors in the livestock value chain from adverse effects of climate change, such as prolonged droughts, and other global crises, such as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The African Union-Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Senior Projects and Programmes Officer, Dr. Annie Lewa, said her organisation, through the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS) project, aims at helping the six African states in which it is being piloted to develop sufficiency in livestock feed and fodder. AU-IBAR is mandated to coordinate the development and utilisation of animal resources. To this end, Dr. Lewa said the Naivasha was meant to launch the country's resilient project and also assess the gaps in feed and fodder production so that her organisation can address them. AU-IBAR Secretary General Cecilia Rangwe said based on research, they intend to identify how to build a strong network of women across Africa for their key role in livelihoods, empower them by strengthening women-run enterprises, and help them source funding as 70 per cent of agriculture production in Africa is done by women. Further, the project aims to empower women in the feed and fodder sector, support strategic partnerships, attract investment, and reform policies and institutions to build a more resilient and sustainable feed and fodder industry. Ms. Christine Kalui, President of the African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N), said there's a need to mobilise and involve more women in policy decisions in the feed and fodder systems. The RAFFS Project is a three-year Emergency/ Short Term Response Project, jointly for AU-IBAR funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the African Union Commission. It is mandated to lead and support livestock development across the continent. It is a collaborative effort to address the adverse effects of recent global crises, the triple C's-COVID-19, climate change shocks, and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine-on African feed and fodder systems. To this end, working through the African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network, established under the ambit of AU-IBAR, the action proposes interventions to ensure women's meaningful inclusion in gainful activities in the feed and fodder sector and the livestock-sourced food supply chains. The project is also designed to stimulate a greater understanding of the impact of the recent and ongoing crises-COVID-19, climate change (drought and flooding), and the Russia-Ukraine conflict-on the feed and fodder sector. An estimated 8.9 million livestock, 2,5 million of them in Kenya, were lost in the greater horn of Africa alone during the recent drought that ravaged the region for nearly two years, thus occasioning a loss to the affected countries totaling about half a billion US dollars (Sh. 70 billion). Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are the six African Union Member States where the project is being piloted since their livestock has a high contribution to livelihoods, incomes, and the economy, and where coordinated action and substantive investment can be quickly mobilised to respond to the shortages. AU-IBAR's Senior Projects and Programmes Officer, Dr. Annie Lewa AU-IBAR said the project presents an opportunity for getting new knowledge and innovations for the feed and fodder sector, as it presents an opportunity to look at what innovations can be better utilised to support livestock Sources Feeds. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Kenya's livestock sector accounted for 4.4 per cent of the country's Gross Domestic Product equivalent of Sh. 3.4 billion as of 2017 statistics. As of 2017 data, the country's animal population comprised 44.6 million poultry, 18.8 million cattle, 26.7 million goats, 18.9 million sheep, 3.2 million camels, 1.9 million donkeys, and 0.5 million pigs. According to FAO, Kenya's beef production stands at 588,000 metric tonnes and cow milk production at 4.1 billion litres per year, and the demand for livestock products is projected to increase exponentially driven by population growth by the year 2050. The study titled Future of Livestock in Kenya 2019 shows that by the year 2050, meat and cow milk consumption will increase by 1.4 and 6.6 million metric tonnes annually respectively.
Source: Kenya News Agency