KMT Kenya Climate Research
The Kenya Southern Rangelands Beef Value Chain
Harnessing opportunities for climate-resilient economic development in the semi-arid lands
This research focuses on the livestock sector in the Southern Rangelands of Kenya and aims to identify climate change impacts, adaptation options and opportunities for private sector investment in the beef value chain.
Why This Study is Important
We focus on the pastoralist livestock system in Kajiado County, where livestock are reared on communal or private land, and beef enters the burgeoning Nairobi meat markets primarily for domestic trade.
Contents of the Research
Background and Context
1.2 Economic justification for selecting the sector
1.3 Climate change and variability: Risks
1.4 Context and study sites
Step One – Mapping the Value Chain
2.1 Step One description
2.2 Kenya livestock value chain
2.3 Kenya Southern Rangelands Beef Value Chain: Kajiado County
2.4 Key constraints identified along the beef value chain
2.5 Tourism links to the beef value chain
Step Two – Assessing Climate Risk
3.1 Step Two description
3.2 Literature review of climate trends and shocks in Kajiado County, Kenya
3.3 Analysis of climate trends in Kajiado County
3.4 Quantitative survey results: producer level
3.5 Qualitative analysis of climate risk along the value chain
Step Three – Identifying adaptation and investment options
4.1 Step Three description
4.2 Discussion of adaptation options
Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Summary and conclusions from analysis of Steps One to Three
The paper follows the Value Chain Analysis for Resilience in Drylands (VC-ARID) approach to analyse the beef value chain in the Southern Rangelands of Kenya, using a common-three step methodology:
Step One: Mapping the Value Chain
Kenya’s livestock value chain
Step One maps the beef value chain, identifying the different stages and key actors within the chain, and the vertical and horizontal linkages.
Kenya’s livestock value chain is made up of three main red meat production systems;
- ASALs – Pastoral production: Approximately 80–90% of red meat consumed in Kenya is produced by pastoralists, either within Kenya or from neighbouring countries.
- ASALs – Private ranches: Another 2% comes from livestock raised on ranches.
- Highland – Dairy farmers: Dairy cattle also contribute substantially to national supply, and dairy farmers account for about 10–15% of Kenya’s red meat supply.
For highlands production, the chain is relatively simple, beginning with dairy smallholders, who sell livestock to local butchers or abattoirs, before the meat reaches the consumer. For the ASALs, the chain is more complex and involves pastoralists from both Kenya and neighbouring countries, and private commercial ranches. Commercial ranching is particularly apparent in Laikipia County, where a number of well- known private ranches are found, including Ol Pejeta, Borana and Sosian (Ndiritu and Said, in review). In the ASALs, livestock may pass through traders, cooperatives, ranches, domestic or export abattoirs, butcheries and retailers, before meat reaches the consumer. There are both domestic and export end markets. However, the Kenyan red meat value chain is primarily geared towards the domestic market.
Meat Export and Imports
The domestic market consumes approximately 99% of production
Small volumes of meat (1%) are exported by the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), private meat exporters and individual ranches.
Livestock and meat exports have been minimal in recent years, at only US$ 4.7 million in 2011, with the majority of exports going to UAE(31%) followed by Somalia (21%) and Tanzania (14%) (KMT, 2014).
Although Kenya’s pastoralists account for the majority of Kenya’s meat supply (60–65% of the total), a significant portion comes from livestock from neighbouring countries (Tanzania, Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda). Behnke and Muthami (2011) estimated that 22% of Kenya’s domestic beef, equalling 632,649 cattle, were imported into Kenya in 2009.
Kenya is a meat deficient country
Kenya is currently unable to meet its domestic demand for beef without imports from other countries and is a meat deficit country.
In 2012, there was an estimated shortage in domestic supply of 18% for cattle and 19% for sheep (KMT, 2014). As the demand continues to surpass the production of beef, Kenya has to increasingly rely on foreign imports to meet the demand. This demand is projected to grow due to increasing urbanisation and a growing middle class.
It is argued that the deficit is due to Kenya’s livestock and meat value chains being inefficient, unorganised and poorly managed, limiting Kenya’s competitiveness in the meat sector (KMT, 2014; USAID, 2012). If the value chain is not improved it will have to increasingly rely on foreign imports to meet this demand.
Meat may pass through a number of different channels depending on the quality and price of the meat
The meat trade and meat value chain is mostly carried out in Nairobi. Actors in the meat chain include meat traders, meat suppliers, butchery owners, as well as traders and retailers that deal with offal and heads.
Key constraints identified along the beef value chain
A summary of the major constraints identified from mapping the Southern Rangelands beef value chain
Step Two: Assessing Climate Risk
Step two assesses climate risk along each stage of the value chain
Timeline of climate shocks for Kajiado County compiled from discussions with producers and traders in field sites and from literature sources
|Year||Climate shock and major observations||Impacts|
|2013/14||Drought – Olameyu le Nkaresero (when people|
migrated to Enkaresero in Tanzania)
|Experienced in Magadi region, but not in Namanga.
Ewaso Nyiro and Ngurumani rivers dried up. People migrated to Tanzania. Livestock and crop diseases reported.
|2009||Drought – When the Matapato people|
migrated to the Magadi area
|The one that decimated cattle. Meto livestock migrated to Tanzania/Sonjo and Magadi Group Ranches.
Magadi – Matapato people migrated in.
Magadi – associated with bird flu, killed lots of doves and other birds.
Meto – when people migrated to Nairobi and Kamba land. Lots of associated conflicts as people migrated to far away regions
|1999/2000||Drought – Oshomoki Oldoinyo sampu –|
Kamorora (when people migrated to Oldoinyo sampu – Kamorora).
|Somali shifta were attacking people in the Shompole/Olkiramatian areas. Presence of a government relief/food aid programme.|
|1998||El-Nino rains – Olari loo Nkariak (The year of|
|Destroyed roads and bridges. Human and livestock deaths due to flooding.
Diversion of the Ewaso Nyiro River. Livestock diseases.
Invasive plants spread.
|1997||Drought – ‘Pee edungo Enkare Ngiro’ (drying up of|
the Ewaso Nyiro River).
|Drying up of the Ewaso Nyiro River for the first time since the 1960s.
Lots of livestock deaths.
Historical changes in rainfall and temperature
The changes in rainfall and temperature reported above may help explain some of the trends in livestock populations reported which show a decline in cattle, but large increase in shoats in Kajiado from 1977 to 2014 (Ogutu et al., 2016).
Cattle are sensitive to fluctuations in rainfall, and as the rainfall decreases, there is a corresponding decrease in the number of cattle (Said et al., 2019). The opposite relationship is shown for sheep and goats. As rainfall decreases, there is a corresponding increase in the number of sheep and goats (Said et al., 2019). The general decline in rainfall shown in Kajiado between 1960 and 2014 may have thus favoured sheep and goats compared to cattle.
Step Three: Identifying adaptation and investment options
This section draws out the adaptation measures that were identified by value chain actors in Step Two to discuss specific options for promoting resilience at different stages along the beef value chain. These are options that address both climate risk and have an opportunity to upgrade and transform the value chain. Selected adaptation options were explored and deliberated with stakeholders to identify specific feasible options for public and private sector investment. These included a mixture of traditional pastoralist coping strategies, and more transformative adaptation options which would require public and/or private sector investment, and the correct enabling environment.
Adaptation options at each point along the value chain are summarised, along with the key stakeholder promoting adaptation, the major barriers or opportunities to implementation and the cost implications of the adaptation options. In the sections, we outline the main adaptation options that were concentrated upon in discussions with different stakeholders. We focus specifically on the private sector adaptation and investment options.