1. Animal Husbandry

Kenya Approves Importation of GM Animal Feed Ingredients

The decision to allow the importation of GM cottonseed cake comes shortly after a national dialogue in Nairobi on developing Kenya's sustainable animal feed system.

Shivam Dwivedi
According to Crop Biotech, the high demand for cottonseed cake will revitalize the cotton sub-sector and open up a lucrative income stream for farmers.
According to Crop Biotech, the high demand for cottonseed cake will revitalize the cotton sub-sector and open up a lucrative income stream for farmers.

To address the current feed shortage and affordability, the Kenyan government has approved the importation of duty-free genetically modified (GM) cottonseed cake for the production of animal feeds. Treasurer Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has allowed eight manufacturers to import up to 28,000 metric tonnes of GM cotton seed cake from Bt cotton in a Gazette Notice exempting duty on imported raw materials used to manufacture animal and chicken feeds.

The notice states that "the imported cottonseed cake shall be either GM or non-GMO in accordance with Kenyan laws and Kenyan standards applicable under Kenyan laws and implemented by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the National Biosafety Authority."

This development highlights the critical role of biotech cotton in addressing the country's ongoing feed crisis, which has pushed the country's livestock sub-sector to the brink of collapse. The new directive is a clear demonstration by the government that Bt cotton is a key economic enabler for the country.

The use of Bt cottonseed cake in the production of animal feeds provides a huge opportunity for Kenyan cotton farmers to access a variety of markets for their produce. Farmers have a chance to close the feed gap by growing more cotton for seed cake.

Kenya began commercial farming of biotech cotton in 2020, and farmers in the east and west are already growing the crop, which is three times more productive than conventional varieties. According to Crop Biotech, the high demand for cottonseed cake will revitalize the cotton sub-sector and open up a lucrative income stream for farmers.

The decision to allow the importation of GM cottonseed cake comes shortly after a national dialogue in Nairobi on developing Kenya's sustainable animal feed system. During the discussion, Livestock Principal Secretary (PS) Harry Kimtai hinted that the Government would deal with the ban and approval of GM crops on a case-by-case basis.

The PS revealed the government has developed a biotech crop Post-Release Monitoring Framework for Bt maize, providing the clearest indication yet that the ban will be lifted soon. "The Post-Release Monitoring Framework will be adequate in protecting human health as the country considers lifting the GM food import ban," PS Kimtai said.

The dialogue proposed a slew of recommendations for developing the country's sustainable feed system.

Last year, the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA), the country's umbrella body for livestock feed producers, urged the government to reconsider and repeal a Cabinet memo issued in 2012 that prohibited the importation of genetically modified foods into the country. According to the association, the ban caused a shortage of feed ingredients, driving up production costs and negatively impacting the country's livestock feed industry.

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