Livestock produced in Kenya is very expensive due to a long value chain. This has rendered Kenya uncompetitive and unable to access external markets for its livestock. Kenya has even imported cheaper livestock from neighboring countries due to its expensive livestock locally. This situation is worsened by the fact that most of these livestock are of very poor quality in terms of body weight and health status.
Countries with thriving livestock sectors like Botswana have finishing and fattening of livestock as integral parts of the value chain, a model that needs to be emulated by Kenya. Proper market linkages between primary producers and end markets will reduce the cost of meat produced in the country, which will in turn make the sector more competitive.
It is against this background that Kenya Markets Trust recently facilitated an exposure visit for lead producers, traders and county officials from two of the leading livestock producing counties in Kenya – Wajir and Mandera – to Neema Livestock and Slaughtering House in Nairobi. This visit was aimed at creating linkages between the producers and the end markets. The visit was a follow up on the livestock stakeholders’ forum for ASAL counties that was held in Isiolo, where traders and processors shared experiences.
Neema abattoir CEO, Mr. Haji Bonaya told the livestock producers from the visiting counties that the abattoir had capacity to purchase over 11,000 goats per week, and asked them to consolidate their supply to meet the demand. “If I ask you to start supplying only 1,000 goats per week now, it will only take a few weeks and you will run out of livestock”, said Bonaya. “I urge you to work as a group to meet the high demand and help pastoralists from back home to get value for their livestock,” he said. Mr. Bonaya told the delegates from the two counties that he was willing to organize for their meeting more exporters who would buy even more, if the pastoralists would be able to sell the required livestock for the export markets.
The delegation from Wajir and Mandera later visited First Choice Nutrifeeds and Pioneer Feedlots Ltd in Nyeri, to learn more about the feeds used in intensive finishing and fattening of livestock. The Nyeri based company is open to exploring opportunities to distribute feeds in Northern Kenya to increase the survival chances for the livestock. Transporting livestock from Northern Kenya to Nyeri for finishing and fattening would lead to death of the livestock, due to the altitude difference between the regions. The proprietor of the Nyeri firm, Dr James Gakuo, asked the respective counties to develop feedlot and finishing & fattening centers in their counties. “I would be more than happy to get into a joint venture with the counties to support them in replicating this concept” said Dr. Gakuo.
In line with the KMT Livestock strategy, we are linking Livestock producing counties with export abattoirs, finishing and fattening firms, as well as livestock exporters so as to shorten the market chain and reduce the associated costs for livestock produced in Kenya which will ultimately make the Kenyan livestock sector more competitive.