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Pastoralists from eight arid and semi-arid counties in Northern Kenya now have a reason to smile after new marketing strategies were laid out for adoption and implementation by their respective County governments through a partnership with the Kenya Markets Trust.

The key strategies emerged after intense deliberations involving County executive officers in charge of Livestock from the eight counties, their chief officers, County veterinary directors, County livestock production directors and other senior livestock officers from the national government, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and fisheries. The officers met in Isiolo for two day consultations with other key stakeholders in the livestock sector, including private sector firms drawn from the financial sector, livestock producers, animal health service providers, insurance companies, processors, exporters and ranchers. 2S1A0007

Stakeholders register at the registration desk for the Isiolo Livestock Workshop

The eight Counties are Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu and Laikipia.

Kevit Desai, the outgoing Chairman Kenya Markets Trust, said that Pastoralists are extremely resourceful as they herd groups of fifty or sixty animals as efficiently as possible but do not benefit optimally from the existing market systems. He said that when there is value addition to animal products and with proper supportive structures, then their products and produce would get better value returns and a maximum market exposure. Mr Desai said that this would in turn ensure that their livelihood is improved through an effective structure, arguing that currently there was no effective structure as livestock farmers worked in isolation resulting to failure to maximize gains.

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 Former KMT Chairman, Kevit Desai, addressing the media during the Isiolo Livestock Workshop

He said that the cooperation between Kenya Markets Trust and the devolved units would ensure a systematic approach in order to realize maximum opportunities for what they produce. Mr Desai held that it’s this perspective that enables the partnership to create a national system that empowers them to maximize their productivity on one hand and also maximize their access to markets and greater income returns based on what they do. He alluded that this will in turn have a positive impact on their lives, especially education for their children to guarantee a better future for the next generations throughout the region that has lagged behind in so many ways.

Isiolo County governor Godana Doyo said that the history of livestock farmers even those who engaged themselves in livestock products was only to sell the carcass adding that the farmers lost a lot due to failure to realize that it’s not about the meat only or skins and hides. He said that there would be greater value if integrated production and processing systems were put in place such as leather industries, biogas production plants and other related industries to enable a livestock farmer to gain from what always went to waste. He held that the move would also offer opportunities for those interested in shoe making, energy production and also production of animal feeds.

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The Isiolo County Governor, Hon. Godana Doyo, address the media during the Isiolo Livestock Workshop

Governor Doyo said it was unfortunate that the Isiolo abattoir which is expected to play a key role towards value addition is not yet operational, adding that the County government had engaged international experts who recommended uplifting of the current structures to meet international standards for export of meat and meat products.

He however expressed optimism that the crucial facility would be up and running in the near future once the structural uplifting and installation of ultra-modern equipment which he said would cost the County government over Kshs 300 Million is finalized. The abattoir is expected to use all these eight Counties as a catchment area due to the large number of animals that would be slaughtered daily once it becomes operational.

The Livestock Portfolio Director, Kenya Markets Trust Ali Hassan Mohamed regretted that seven of the eight Counties have been using estimated figures in terms of livestock population to plan for failure, arguing that if we don’t have figures, we cannot plan effectively for a better livestock industry as a nation. Of the eight Counties, only Mandera had conducted a livestock census and had reliable figures. He urged the national government to partner with the devolved governments to conduct a collective livestock census using the recent technology of satellite imaging in order to come up with reliable figures for better planning.

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Ali Hassan, the KMT Director of Portfolio- Livestock, speak to the media during the Isiolo Livestock Workshop

The high level workshop ended with stakeholders agreeing to the following:

  • Protecting pastoralists from use of counterfeit animal health inputs. This will be achieved by carrying out joint radio campaigns about counterfeits and use of veterinary drugs.
  • County Directors of Veterinary services (DVS) to coordinate the development of a joint county vaccination schedule
  • Review, harmonize and implement sustainable rangeland management bills and regulations
  • Carry out a coordinated public education on livestock insurance, and engage national government to review the Kenya Livestock Insurance Programme in a bid to make it “Smart subsidy”
  • Carrying out synchronized livestock surveys and census in all the participating counties
  • Formulation of a comprehensive livestock master plan, which involves a situational analysis (strengths, challenges, opportunities, and threats in the livestock sector

Click the links below to see the media coverage of the event:

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Group photo of the stakeholders who attended the Isiolo Livestock Sector Workshop