Pig farmers stare at losses on declining feeder sales

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021 00:00 |
Pig farming. Photo/PD/WAHINYA HENRY

Tough times lie ahead for the hard-pressed pig farmers as Farmers Choice cut sale of commercial feeds owing to increased cost and lack of raw materials.

Apart from staring at high prices and closure of agribusinesses,  the situation is expected to worsen as livestock feed manufacturing companies continue to close down.

The bad news comes even as the government remains mum over value chains’ appeal to allow importation of GMO yellow maize and other raw materials.

Early last week Farmer's Choice, the Nairobi-based processor of pork products announced reduction on volumes of feeds it sells to farmers countrywide.

Local suppliers of raw materials for animal feed production  are currently exporting the materials to foreign countries where it is said the market is offering high prices compared to the local market.  

Sharon Tsigadi, general manager in charge of Rosemark Division of Farmers Choice, said the company has been forced to reduce sales of commercial feed to the farmers owing to scarcity and high cost of raw materials.

“As at end of September this year we have been selling to farmers more than 200 tonnes of feeds per week but due to scarcity of key ingredients of manufacturing feeds, we have been forced to announce measures in order to remain afloat in business,” she said in a notice to farmers and other value chains. 

Feed sales volumes

She added: “Under this new scenario, our weekly feed sales volumes to farmers at Kasarani will decrease from the current 220 tonnes to 150 tonnes effective October 4, 2021.

We will revert back to unrestricted sales volumes as soon as we are able to stock up on our major raw materials which will hopefully be in the next couple weeks.”  

This development means farmers will be forced to look for more feed from other companies which might be expensive in order to achieve their volumes. 

Currently, the company wholesale price of a 50kg of swine winner stands at Sh1,500 while other manufacturers are selling a 70kg bag retailing at between Sh2,000 and Sh2,100.

Pig production costs, she noted, have since last year increased by between 30 and 40 per cent as feed constitutes between 60 and 80 per cent of the production cost. 

This has resulted in higher pork prices per kilogramme while small scale farmers are opting out of pig farming.

Tsigadi said there has been no change in the feed raw material situation, adding that the situation continues to deteriorate with activity and high prices of wheat pollard and wheat bran persisting while both, when available, are now two to three times the prices we were paying in January. 

“On the other hand the price of soya beans has increased fourfold, whilst that of our main energy sources maize has increased by 30 per cent with the alternative barley, not currently available,” she said.

Tsigadi stated the situation is expected to worsen but hastened to add that farmers will get a reprieve as well as the livestock industry survive if the government agrees to intervene and allow duty free importation of GM yellow maize  and soya beans amongst other materials.

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