Animal feed prices skyrocket

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A new study conducted by The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations dubbed ‘Report on feed inventory and feed balance in Ethiopia,’ indicated that over the last five years prices of feed supplements for animals has risen over 41 percent.
The prices of vitamin premixes and methionine remained relatively stable as compared to the trends in prices of minerals, lysine and salt. The high price of feed ingredients and compound feeds and the shortage and very high prices of feed ingredients are key challenges for sustainable and affordable delivery of compound feeds. Prices of feed ingredients and compound feeds have increased by an average of 52 and 82 percent respectively leading to low demand of compound feeds. This situation has even led to closing of some commercial farms (dairy and beef), essentially due to low returns on the investment.
Most private and farmers union feed processing plants are currently facing serious challenges in analytical services mainly because of high cost and inadequate service delivery.
The study also indicated that there are no well-equipped and accredited labs to satisfy the commercial feed sector.
Domestic production of supplements and feed additives are in their infancy and the
country’s requirement heavily depends on imports, demanding technical and policy interventions. The prices of feed ingredients and compound feeds have increased at an alarming rate.
Seyum Aman, an expert in poultry told Capital that feed stakeholders should come up with a new strategy to engage in commercial farming.
“There are simple things that can be done like using waste from beer companies for animal feed but it is not well known here and the other problem is there is not much coordination between agriculture farming and husbandry so they lack efficiency to work with each other in a proper system.’’
Dr Terzu Dey, Director, Veterinary Drug and Animal Feed Administration and Control Authority said that there should be many entrepreneurs to fill the high demand and supply gap of animal feed.
“As a country we have only 18 companies who work on animal feed production and with such a small number we cannot address our issue, we must attract new business people to work in this area. There is also not land here which is only for animal feed production.”
Currently a total of 81 enterprises under 5 major categories are operating in the Ethiopian commercial feed sub-sector.
The dominant enterprises are feed processing plants owned by private companies and farmers unions engaged in production of compound feed followed by importers or manufactures of supplements and of feed processing machines and suppliers of forage seeds.
A total of 32 privately owned feed processing plants are currently operational. In terms of geographic distribution, most of the enterprises are located in Oromia and Addis Ababa regions with respective contribution of 37 and 31 percent.