Kenya okays Yellow Maize importation

Kenya okays Yellow Maize importation

Animal Feed processors have been okayed to import yellow maize with minimal Genetically Modified organisms ( GMO) content.

The condition is to ensure slashing prices of products used to raise farm animals.

The Ministry of Agriculture reduced the level of yellow maize purity from GMO to 99.1 percent from 100 percent.

According to Business Daily, the change in the GMO policy will be gazetted this week with the price of a 70 kilograme bag dairy meal set to go up to Ksh.3,400 from Ksh.2,500.

Chick Marsh now costs Ksh.4,200 from Ksh.3,250 while layers now cost Ksh.3,800 from Ksh.3,100.

“In the light of the ongoing drought and a shortage of feeds, we have decided to review the framework on importation of yellow maize by lowering the requirements to 99.1 percent GMO-free,” said Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai.

The rise in the cost of raw materials has forced 50 percent of Kenya’s dairy feed manufacturers to close shop or downsize operations in the past two years. This is according to John Gathogo, Chairman Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers.

As a result, he warns, milk production could drop as livestock farmers grapple with the rising cost of livestock feeds.

“The biggest challenge lies in the high cost of livestock feeds which results from equally high prices of raw materials from neighbouring countries,” he said.

Kenya is reconsidering its 2012 import ban on genetically modified maize as more than 1 million of its citizens require urgent humanitarian food assistance due to prolonged drought.

“In the next one or two months, we will have a decision about the future of that ban,’’ said Professor Hamadi Mboga, principal secretary in the country’s ministry of agriculture, which oversees agricultural research.

The decision could determine whether Kenya’s farmers are ultimately able to access and plant improved genetically modified (GM) seeds.

Residents of the Tana River, Turkana, Marsabit, Isiolo and Garissa counties are facing severe food and water shortages due to prolonged drought, Kenya’s meteorological department reported.

The yellow composite maize from Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) tolerates high temperatures up to 30 degrees Celsius typical to dry areas such as Makueni, Kitui and Machakos in addition to withstanding dry spells to give up to eight tonnes of feed mass per acre in four months.

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