Little hope government measures will alleviate Kenya feed crisis

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/omersukrugoksu
© GettyImages/omersukrugoksu

Related tags Kenya Gm cottonseed meal Ddgs

The government of Kenya, in June, issued additional tariff exemptions for new ingredients to address rising feed costs.

However, industry sources noted the new exemptions are unlikely to reduce feed costs as Kenya prohibits imports of most GM feed ingredients, according to a USDA FAS report.

“Kenya’s primary feed constraint remains a lack of an adequate supply of ingredients from non-GM producing countries,​” stressed the authors.

On September 8, 2021, Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, declared the country’s feed shortage a national emergency.

The declaration was issued in response to rising feed costs triggered by a supply shortfall of feed ingredients due to regional drought, and the consequent closure of feed mills, noted the US agency review.

On December 10, 2021, Kenya waived tariffs on non-GMO corn, soymeal, cottonseed cake, sunflower seed cake, white sorghum, and fish meal imported for animal feed.

These exemptions were granted to 18 Kenyan businesses, but such a move was deemed limited in terms of increasing feed prices as Kenya’s primary constraint was a lack of available ingredients from non-GM crop producing countries.

New exemptions

Some six months later, on June 10, the authorities waived import duties on additional animal feed ingredients. The June notice expands tariff exemptions to include non-GM soybeans, cottonseed cake derived from GE Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt.) cotton, distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and rapeseed cake.

The notice also increased the number of firms eligible for tariff exemptions to 30, each of which received product-specific quotas for duty-free importation valid until the end of October.

With the exception of Bt. cottonseed cake, the June gazette requires most feed ingredients to be 99.1% free of genetically modified (GM) content.

Corn, soybeans, soymeal, sunflower seed cake, white sorghum, and fishmeal must contain no more than 0.9% GM content to benefit from market entry and duty exemptions.

While the officials did not specify whether DDGS or rapeseed cake must be 99.1% free to benefit from tariff exemptions, Kenya has imposed a blanket ban on GM products since 2012, with Bt. cotton the only GM product approved for commercialization or import in Kenya.

And, while the measure facilitates cottonseed cake imports, exportable supplies of cottonseed meal are much lower than other feed ingredients. In 2021, global exports of cottonseed meal totaled 313,000 metric tons (MT) compared to 70m MT of soybean meal and almost 8m MT of palm kernel, sunflower seed, and rapeseed meal.

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