Kenya: New Evonik analytical service aimed at lower feed costs

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Kenya: New Evonik analytical service aimed at lower feed costs
Last week saw German chemical group, Evonik, inaugurate its first animal nutrition laboratory in Nairobi in Kenya. The facility is equipped with near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) technology.

Evonik said its new NIR service will help feed producers in Kenya as well as in other markets in the East African region including Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda, better evaluate their raw materials through accurate analysis of a very wide range of nutrients, ensure higher feed quality and keep a lid on costs.

Animal nutrition has become a more exact science over the past decades. To formulate feed according to a certain specification requires knowledge about the nutrient contents of all relevant raw materials. Since these vary considerably, it is important to analyse the raw materials on an ongoing basis with latest NIR technology, argues Evonik.

Heinrich Ruth, vice president, animal nutrition, Middle East and Africa, told FeedNavigator the NIR laboratory service is targeted at feed manufacturing facilities, primarily, but also large-scale farms producing their feed on site.

While local feed millers are the priority in terms of manufacturing customers, the lab will also work with a few multinationals who are already Evonik customers, he continued.

Feed costs 

Feed contributes 70% of livestock production cost in Kenya and the other countries, said Ruth.

Maize, which is the major source of energy in poultry feed, is also a staple food in East Africa, and, hence, there is a food v feed competition dynamic going on; that causes an escalation in feed energy prices, he said.

The major challenge for feed formulation in Kenya and in East Africa, in general, is the lack of nutritional data for local ingredients, explained Ruth.

The industry there relies heavily on by-products of maize, wheat and oil extraction: “These raw materials are highly variable in their quality and availability."

Nutritionists in those markets rely on book values to formulate, said Ruth. "This results in high feed costs because they are forced to use very high safety margins."

Raw material imports

Kenya, which is a leader in livestock production in the region, imports a lot of feed raw materials from Uganda and Tanzania. The country imports bulk ingredients like maize, wheat pollard and bran, and other ingredients such as cotton seed cake and sunflower cake, said Ruth.

“Soy is produced locally but the quality is low. Hence, most feed millers will import soybean meal from India. Additives like vitamins and mineral premixes, amino acids, trace minerals are imported from Europe.”

However, he said a premix production plant is set to go on stream in Kenya. Essential Drugs Limited is to start feed orientated premix operations this year.  

Market presence 

Evonik said it sees great potential in the East African market, citing the double digit growth of the poultry industry there in recent years.

The company established a direct presence in East Africa five years ago with a representative office in Kenya. However, the German specialty chemicals producer said it has been active in this region for decades through external distributors.  

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