KMT’s CEO Ms Alison Ng’eny-Otieno (middle) looks on as PS Harry Kimtai (seated right) and NMG’s General Manager – Commercial, James Sogoti (seated left) sign the Memorandum of Understanding between the five partners. CEO KEMLEIC Mr Nicholas Ngahu (standing right) and Evans Makokha (standing left) witness the signing too.
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) formally entered a partnership with Kenya’s national government, Nation Media Group, Retail Traders Association of Kenya (RETRAK) and the Meat and Livestock Exporters’ Industry Council of Kenya (KEMLEIC) aimed at enhancing the country’s livestock sector.
Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai from the State Department of Livestock, led a delegation of leaders from these partners in signing a memorandum of understanding, geared towards the establishment of the first-ever meat expo in the country.
The meat expo, which is scheduled to be held in Nairobi later in the year, seeks to offer complete education, business-to-business networking experiences and spotlighting the latest developments in the meat industry that guarantees consumers high quality and safe meat and meat products. The event will bring together livestock producers, processors, retailers, policymakers, consumers, development partners, and other actors along the meat value chain.
Speaking during the event, Mr Kimtai expressed his gratitude to the partners for their commitment to transforming the livestock sector and confirmed the support of his department towards the preparation and execution of the expo.
Apart from the State Department of Livestock and KMT, the other partners include the Nation Media Group (NMG), the Retail Trade Association of Kenya (RETRAK), and the Meat and Livestock Exporters’ Industry Council of Kenya (KEMLEIC).
“As Kenya Markets Trust, we are excited about this meat expo, and the positive changes it can potentially trigger, not only in meat retail and processing, but also in livestock production systems across the country,” said Alison Ng’eny-Otieno, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Markets Trust.
“This expo presents a unique opportunity to create change in the livestock sector, by influencing demand for safe and quality meat products by educating consumers. Businesses across the value chain will also gain exposure and have networking opportunities with other businesses and stakeholders,” she added.
Nicholas Ngahu, the CEO of KEMLEIC spoke of the high standards and value of meat that Kenya exports. “If we get our systems right, then it is possible for Kenyans to consume tender, high-quality beef at competitive prices, while bringing good income to beef farmers” said Mr Ngahu.
KMT’s Trigger in the Formation of the Partnership
Kenya’s meat production, processing and retail sector is largely informal and not modernised. Issues of food hygiene and meat safety plague the sector.
To effect transformation towards acceptable global standards, KMT has been supporting the sector to embrace modernisation by promoting the adoption of food safety and quality practices like the use of cold chain, promoting value addition, inventory management, adoption of meat handling and safety standards, and promoting traceability of meat and meat products.
In addition to these efforts, we also realise the key role that the end consumer can play to further drive this anticipated change. So far, the Kenyan consumer has not driven the demand for quality and safe meat due to inadequate information and misinformation on quality meat.
KMT has identified this gap and is actively working with key stakeholders to improve consumer education, which will push meat processors and retailers towards modernisation to meet consumer demands.
We are aware of the role of media in facilitating the realisation of the meat industry’s modernisation, consumer education, and ultimately attaining food security cannot be underestimated.
On this basis, we organised a media sensitisation workshop in December 2020, which brought together Commercial Managers from Kenyan media houses, media agencies, and the captains of the meat industry, led by their industry organisations. Here, discussions on potential partnerships that could sustainably drive large-scale perception change and consumer education in Kenya in matters meat safety and quality were held.
Resulting from this meeting, Nation Media Group showed great interest in taking this forward, and this interest has been formalised today through the signing of this MoU with them.
“As a media house, our goal is simply Transforming Lives; that is what we aim to achieve through the stories and information shared across our different platforms. When we heard about the story of meat and livestock in the country, we believed that this would be a great entry point for us in further enhancing our vision, through such a beneficial partnership,” said James Sogoti, NMG’s General Manager – Commercial.
Livestock keeping is fundamentally important to Kenya’s economy. It supports and provides livelihoods to over 10 million Kenyans and contributes about 12 per cent to Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Additionally, it supports businesses in the retail, hospitality, medical, manufacturing, service, and leather sectors, among many others.