Female live animal traders in Marsabit are set to reap big from an initiative supported by Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) which will see them come together to aggregate their sheep and goats to improve their bargaining power and access reliable markets outside Marsabit.
Live animal trade has been one of the oldest forms of trade in Marsabit in Northern Kenya and has been predominantly the preserve of men.
KMT is facilitating Tosha Livestock Traders, an association formed by the women entrepreneurs to empower the women livestock producers and traders by establishing a niche in a sector that is male dominated and constrained with rampant brokerage.
Through KMT support, Tosha Livestock Traders has established a formal and registered institution to run the affairs of the business. This will enable them to get into contractual agreements with established end market players and formal transport systems. Animal health service provision will also be included as part of the auxiliary services for the association. This will include hiring of a veterinary doctor to examine the aggregated livestock before they are transported to the end markets. Holding grounds will be identified for aggregation of the livestock before being moved to Nairobi and other end markets. It is at these holding grounds that the veterinary officer will provide the inspection services
With aggregated livestock, Tosha Livestock Traders will be linked to Neema Slaughterhouse (also supported by KMT) and other terminal markets. The trader group will be given a quota to supply. This will go a long way in solving the challenge of lack of reliable supply of quality livestock; a problem that has hampered the ability of terminal markets to meet the international market demand.
Through this partnership, the women traders will be trained on the requirements for their goats to access international markets. They will also receive financial management training to enable them set up profitable and sustainable enterprises.
The business will provide livelihoods alternatives in the erratic north as the women will be able to access better markets and therefore better prices, which will keep them in this business.
The women traders will have their net income per goat increase from the current average KES 1,500 they get from the brokers to an average of KES 3,500 from the end markets. They will have guaranteed sales of a set number of goats per week, enabling them to purchase more livestock from the communities which will increase the access to markets for them.
This business will contribute significantly in improving the wellbeing of households in Northern Kenya. This is because increased incomes to women, who spend most of their income on the household, will mean improved standards of living for these households. The household’s food security will also improve as a function of the increased income. This initiative is in line with KMT’s women economic empowerment initiatives.