East Africa feed lab lays foundation for future growth

U.S. Grains Council support helps build markets from ground up for increasing livestock production in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Jacqui Fatka, Policy editor

May 23, 2019

3 Min Read
2019_04_Tanzania-Poultry-Program_CVL-9 USGC.jpg
The U.S. Grains Council helped the Central Veterinary Laboratory in Tanzania develop and professionalize the lab’s feed operational standards.US Grains Council

The success of a feed laboratory in Tanzania represents just one of the building blocks needed to lay the foundation for future growth in the livestock and poultry industries in East Africa. The Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL) conducts, on average, more than 230 feed sample tests monthly, analyzing the quality of raw materials and feed additives used in growing livestock industries in the country.

By supporting this laboratory and these end users, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is helping to build markets from the ground up while working to create future market access for U.S. coarse grains in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia.

“The council’s support to the CVL is a key component of the council’s program in East Africa, funded for the next two years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program,” said USGC manager of global strategies Katy Wyatt, who recently traveled to Tanzania to check in on the lab’s progress and assess market opportunities in Kenya and Ethiopia. “Ensuring reliable and trusted feed laboratories are in place will catalyze the growth in professional, high-quality feeds that will ensure a healthy and viable feed sector develops in the region.”

Six years ago, the CVL was struggling to attract the feed industry to utilize its facilities due to a lack of trust and access to the lab’s services. As a result, leading livestock and poultry producers in Tanzania were forced to rely on inconsistent and inferior feed ingredients or mix their own feed on the farm, USGC explained.

“Poor-quality feed is largely the result of inconsistent access to quality raw materials and feed additives among feed manufacturers -- leading manufacturers to produce and sell feed that causes livestock and poultry to underperform and mortality rates to increase,” Wyatt said. “Without access to and without utilizing an effective analytical feed analysis and quality assurance systems, producers in Tanzania were at a significant production disadvantage.”

USGC, recognizing the long-term potential in the market, stepped in and helped the CVL develop its feed operational standards -- both lab management and technical expertise -- under a Food for Progress grant that will formally end in 2019. With USDA's ATP program funding, the council will continue to strengthen the analytical and technical expertise available by working with lab staff to calibrate and validate lab equipment, its near-infrared spectroscopy machine and the mineralizer.

“Addressing the need for a more consistent supply of high-quality feed is important to helping East African poultry and livestock producers meet the demands of a developing continent,” Wyatt said. “As population growth puts an even greater strain on countries to meet growing demand for food, investment in the agricultural sector is a key priority.”

Africa’s population is anticipated to increase from 1.1 billion to more than 2.3 billion between now and 2050. This growth, coupled with a growing middle class and changes in consumer behaviors, raise questions as to how the continent will meet growing demand for high-protein animal foods, including meat, eggs and milk.

According to the U.N. Food & Agriculture Organization, annual poultry and egg consumption will increase by 3.3% and 3.1%, respectively, through 2050. These growing poultry and livestock industries will require similar growth in animal feed production on the continent to meet this demand.

USGC will continue to support these industries through programs like the CVL to help regional producers learn how to improve their businesses. Doing so, the council noted, helps pave the way for imports of feed grains and co-products from the U.S. to capture this long-term feed demand in Africa.

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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