The high cost of feeds has reduced earnings from poultry and cattle rearing forcing the market to search for alternative feeds to maintain an industry weighed down by high costs.
One of the solutions that the University of Nairobi has come up with the freely available water hyacinth to make poultry, cattle and fish feeds alongside manure significantly bring down the cost of feeds.
During the Innovation Week at the Main Campus they said the price of the feeds at the University if Nairobi is way cheaper than the chick mash or bone meal fed to animals.
Availability of grazing land is decreasing day by day due to either drought in Kenya or increased pressure on land reducing available acreage for grazing and leading to conflict as we can see currently in Baringo.
Research done by the Food and Agricultural Organisation shows that during the dry season water hyacinth could usefully be fed to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats and poultry.
Popular in Bangladesh
The weed is very popular in Bangladesh as animal feed, aqua feed, water purification, fertilizer, biogas
production, even food for human and other products. “Water hyacinth can be used as fresh, ensiled or wilted for feeding animals. Whole plants either, chopped or ground can be used as feedstuffs for both ruminants and monogastric animals,” notes a study conducted in Bangladesh by Chittagong Veterinary and Animal Sciences University.
The University of Nairobi’s upper Kabete campus however is working to scale up production in order to serve a wider market and help reduce the prices of animal feeds.
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Maize and fish
Most of the animal feeds in Kenya are either imported or made from epensive materials such as maize and fish. This innovation will help to reduce competition for human food by animals helping to lower the cost of living among Kenyans.
Water hyacinth is a serious problem and tends to hamper the multiplication of fish in the lake by reducing oxygen in the water. It has also hampered transport and fishing activities.