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Animal feeds plant set up in Athi River, Machakos County

De Heus Animal Nutrition Limited, a global animal feed company, will construct a Sh3 billion livestock feed plant in Athi River, Machakos County to provide high quality and affordable animal feeds to farmers across the country.

De Heus Animal Nutrition Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Koen De Heus said construction of the plant would take at least one year and it was expected to be operational in the first quarter of the 2025/2026 fiscal year.

The factory will produce an estimated 200,00 metric tonnes of animal feed for livestock, poultry, pigs and aqua in the region and create over 250 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs for Machakos residents and the neighbouring communities.

Speaking during the ground breaking ceremony of the plant in Athi River on Thursday, Heus said the feed company ventured into Kenya due to the country’s potential in the livestock sector and the need for nutritional animal feeds.

“Kenya has great prospects because the animal sector in Kenya will grow to meet the demands of the growing population hence the need for quality products. We are currently in 23 countries with over 100 production locations,” he said.

The CEO said besides providing feeds, the company would also offer technical support to farmers on animal husbandry for increased productivity in the value chain.

“We have a network of dealers and shops which we will use to contact the farmers for support. We will also source our raw materials locally and will train farmers on how to increase acreage for animal feeds and especially high yielding crops,” added Heus.

He affirmed that the feeds would be tailored to meet the needs of the locally bred livestock in the country and region.

“We shall also put in place mechanisms to ensure that the feeds are safe especially from aflatoxin by establishing a tracking system and working with farmers to reduce the risk of contamination,” said the CEO.

Speaking at the same event, Principal Secretary for Livestock Development Jonathan Mueke hailed the animal feed company for investing in the plant saying it would plug the supply gap for affordable and quality feeds for livestock farmers in the country.

Mueke said the country has been dogged by a deficiency of animal feeds due to persistent and prolonged droughts.

“Sometimes the animal’s foodstuffs compete with human food. This has led to importation which now translates to high cost of feeds that are out of reach of many farmers,” noted the PS.

He pledged the government’s support in aiding the animal feeds’ company in setting up the plant and noted that Kenya Kwanza was keen on creating an enabling environment for investors both local and international in the various livestock value chains.

“We call on other investors to take advantage of the prevailing policy environment and venture into animal feed production and even the entire manufacturing sector. The country has a large number of skilled and youthful workforce,” noted Mueke.

The PS underscored the important role that livestock plays in the country’s economy and reiterated the government’s commitment towards enhancing the sector through Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda.

“The sector contributes around 12 percent of the GDP and it also supplies the domestic requirements of milk, eggs, meat and other dairy and livestock products that constitute around 30 percent of the total agricultural produce. It also earns substantial foreign exchange through exportation of livestock and their products,” he said.

He said the government has put in place a raft of measures to boost livestock production including improved animal breeding practices, increased animal feed production and facilitating access to animal health services and nutrition.

The PS noted that the livestock sector is set to grow to meet the demand of the country’s growing population, saying the sector presents opportunities for investors.

“The population of Kenya is set to grow to around 95 million by 2050. These numbers will drive the demand for livestock products and there is potential for investors especially in animal feed production,” added Mueke.

Also present was Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti who said the plant would provide premium feeds for farmers and increase food security.

Wavinya pledged her government’s support for the plant through policy and infrastructural development.

By Roselyne Kavoo

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