The Competition watchdog has initiated investigations into the practices of animal feed manufacturers, aiming to uncover any instances of anti-competitive behavior, even as processors within the industry have expressed their support for this move.

In a public notice, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has formally requested information from millers, seeking a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s dynamics.

The inquiry aims to ascertain various aspects, including pricing, costs, production quantities, supply and demand figures, market shares, market concentration, ownership relationships, joint ventures, and marketing agreements related to products and services.

“The primary objective of this market inquiry is to assess market interactions, structures, outcomes, and other factors influencing competition within the animal feed value chains. We aim to recommend measures that will promote sustainable growth and competitiveness in Kenya’s animal feed sector,” stated the CAK in a Gazette Notice.

John Karuri, Chairman of the Association of Kenya Animal Feed Manufacturers (AKEFEMA), expressed his organisation’s willingness to cooperate with the CAK and welcomed the inquiry.

“We are in the process of preparing a comprehensive response to the questionnaire. This gives us an opportunity to present accurate information and dispel any misconceptions,” Mr Karuri told Business Day Africa.

Mr Karuri said they intend to address the questions both at the individual manufacturer level and collectively through AKEFEMA, which represents various processors involved in feed manufacturing. The official confirmed that they will submit the memorandum to the CAK within the coming week.

The multi-billion animal feed industry is a significant player in the Kenyan economy, featuring prominent companies like Unga Limited, listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Manufacturers often source key ingredients such as sunflower cake, soya, and cotton cake seeds from abroad due to local scarcity.

The CAK’s decision to investigate animal feed manufacturers follows recent fines imposed on steel industry leaders.

Steel tycoons were collectively fined Ksh338.8 million for their alleged involvement in cartel-like activities.

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The CAK has previously conducted inquiries into maize flour manufacturers to scrutinize their operational conduct in response to public complaints.