How we feed our farm animals is rightly coming under greater scrutiny because of the challenge of climate change and deteriorating human health. These pressures will soon have added to them the increasing cost of oil-based nitrogen fertilizer and scarce mineral phosphates – indeed, there have been clear signs that these trends are already underway.
Many animal-feed brands in Kenya, in an effort to generate maximum profits, fall into the vicious pit of manufacturing adulterated animal feeds. In dairy cattle, sheep and goats, exposure to the adulterants can reduce milk production, impair reproduction and liver function, compromise immune function, and increase susceptibility to diseases.
These adulterants can contaminate a variety of livestock feeds and cause enormous economic losses, posing significant hazards on consumers’ health and rural livelihoods.
Machakos based animal feeds producer, Sentewe Limited, is on the road to changing this norm by manufacturing quality feeds and training farmers on its importance. The company specializes in stocking animal feed ingredients and packed feeds for cattle, chicken and pigs.
Regina Mutiso, the founder of Sentewe Animal Feeds, says focusing on animal nutrition help cut carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, laying a positive impact on the environment.
“Most farmers are unaware of the impact the feeds they choose to feed their animals have on the people and the planet. I wanted to educate them. If the farmers feed their animals right, it increases production. In the case of cattle, the right feed will give rise to quality milk and higher volume,” says Regina.
We started Sentewe Animal Feeds after seeing the struggle farmers go through to get quality feeds,” Regina explained.
The entrepreneur ascertained that her goal is to educate the farmers about quality animal nutrition, the dietary needs of the animals, and ways to fulfil it with home-grown supplies.
“A person consumes what he feeds his animals. If something artificial or of poor quality is fed to the animal, it eventually travels up the food chain and enters the human food chain. Therefore, it’s crucial to be concerned about the nutrition of the animals to maintain the ecological balance and sanctity of the food chain,” Regina explains.
As a beneficiary of AgriBiz, Regina says the programme has helped grow her enterprise, get access to markets, increase finances and create job opportunities for youth in her community.
“I have been able to expand my business across the country and train more farmers, thanks to the financial and technical assistance I have received from KCIC,” she notes.
Talking about the future of Sentewe, Regina hopes to connect with and train more farmers on the importance of feeding animals the right feeds and in the right amounts.