Kenyan feed manufacturers seek lifting of ban on GM foods importation

KENYA – Livestock producers and animal feed manufacturers have requested the Kenyan Government to permit the importation of duty-free genetically modified (GM) yellow maize and soybeans to cushion against a national shortage of key ingredients used in manufacturing animal meals.

The Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA), the country’s umbrella body for livestock feed producers, has urged the Government to review and vacate its Cabinet memo of 2012 which banned the importation of GM foods into the country. The association said the ban, has led to the shortage of feed ingredients pushing production costs to the rim and negatively impacting the country’s livestock feed industry.

The manufacturers voiced concern through their Secretary-General Martin Kinoti, that Kenya does not produce reasonable quantities of soybeans, sunflowers, or cotton whose by-products – soybean and sunflower meals as well as cottonseed cake – are major sources of protein in animal feed production.

"The shortage has resulted to a sharp rise in the cost of sunflower and cottonseed cake, soybean, wheat bran and maize germ, which are key components in the manufacturing of feeds, which has significantly increased the cost of dairy meal, chick and layers mash in the market."

Martin Kinoti, Secretary General, AKEFEMA Tweet

Kenya banks on Tanzania to furnish it with sunflower seed cake while soybean is imported from Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia to meet the industry’s raw material needs. However, as reported by Crop BioTech, the Government of Zambia recently suspended the export of soybean meal and sunflower seed cake hence compounding the feed shortage in Kenya.

"Since Zambia is one of the main source markets for Kenya, the price of the little available soybean has moved up by over 30 percent resulting in an acute rise in the cost of producing feeds."

Joseph Karuri, AKEFEMA Chairman Tweet

The manufacturers warned that the livestock feed-manufacturing sector faces imminent collapse with its revival pegged on lifting the long-standing ban on importation of GM foods to allow raw materials from the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and other countries which produce more than sufficient GM soybean bean, yellow corn, and Bt cotton. 

They said there is no justifiable scientific basis for sustaining the ban citing that the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has given its expert advice and assurance on the safety of these products for livestock feed manufacturers.

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