New Bill Blocking All Farmers From Producing Feeds Without License Divides Kenyans

President William Ruto inspecting his farm
President William Ruto inspecting his farm.

All Kenyan farmers, regardless of scale, dealing in the animal feed business will soon risk a 20,000 fine if they are found operating without a license.

According to the Livestock Bill 2023, the punishment covers all stages of animal feed growth straight from production, which includes planting the crops, to distribution.

To govern the industry, the bill seeks to establish a committee or any such entity whose duty shall be to advise the Authority on all matters of registration and licensing under the regulations.

"A person shall not, whether as a business operator or otherwise, handle any feedstuff by way of engaging in any operation of production, manufacture, processing, storage, transport or distribution unless the person has been validly registered under this regulation and issued with a registration certificate," read the bill in part.

Livestock breeders showcase their animals at Gicheha Farm in Nakuru County in 2018
farmingKenya / Facebook

It is, however, not clear whether individuals producing the feeds for their own consumption will also be affected by the bill.

The bill is expected to boost bookkeeping among farmers and traders relating to measures put in place to control hazards, in an appropriate manner and for an appropriate period, commensurate with the nature and size of the feed business.

This is expected to help the authorised officers detect a disease outbreak or determine the quality of livestock being manufactured in every region.

If found guilty of circumventing the rules, the accused persons will risk a jail term of up to six months.

"A person who operates a feedstuff business contrary to these regulations, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both fine and imprisonment," added the bill.

The authority will be responsible for approving or rejecting licenses and must give clear written reasons for denying a trader the license.

Kenyans were, however, taken aback by the recommendations noting that they were contrary to food sustainability goals fronted by President William Ruto's administration.

"It doesn't make sense to talk about food sustainability and then hinder farmers from actually producing food," lamented a user.

"It's a paradox that this is being spearheaded by an executive elected by the people and a National Assembly which is supposed to represent the people. It's high time that we reactivated the recall clause," corroborated Daniel Lairuka Sindani.

Others, however, supported the move arguing that it will boost the quality of food produced locally.

Herders grazing livestock in a semi-arid region in Kenya