by Peter Mutai
NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan livestock
stakeholders ended a two-day meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday by
agreeing on a roadmap to help revamp the sector that has the
potential to transform the country’s economy and pastoralist
The stakeholders said that despite the sector
contributing 12 percent to the country’s gross domestic product
(GDP) and employs 10 million people, there are constraints that
hinder its development to produce sufficient beef to meet
domestic demand and develop hides and skin.
"We have embarked on improving the genetic pool of Kenyan
livestock by investing in artificial insemination and semen
development for better beef and skin," Christopher Wanga,
director of policy at State Department for Livestock under
Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and
Irrigation told the meeting.
Wanga noted that the government has also pledged to allocate
interested parties farms where they can grow feedlots to avail
quality feeds that have been lacking in the country.
The official further noted that arrangements have also been
made to establish disease-free compartments and allow private
sector with support from the government to export products.
Wanga noted that for once the problem in the sector is
expected to be solved and livestock keepers begin to enjoy their
"We want to reverse a common knowledge that livestock keepers
are the poorest people in the country by offering incentives,"
Kenya is the third largest holder of livestock in Africa
after Ethiopia and Botswana and livestock keepers are mainly
found in 80 percent of Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs)
in the northern part of the country.
Adan Haji Yusuf, legislator from Mandera West in northeastern
Kenya attributed the slow development in the sector to
Yusuf said that changes made through parliament have delayed
the development agenda of the sector because it takes time to be
implemented and most of time they collapse by the end of a
parliamentary calendar year.
"It is impossible to attract private investors and donors to
help develop the sector in the absence of supportive laws,"
But Yusuf observed that there has been a remarkable change in
the past 10 years as many farmers have developed a different
He said that Kenya will only realize the African Union’s
Maputo Declaration that requires all members to attain 10
percent budgetary allocation to agriculture once livestock
sector is given priority through national financial allocation.
Abdirahman Abbas, chief executive of Frontier Counties
Development Council (FCDC), a Kenyan think-tank, said it is time
to realign strategies to reflect the current governance
structures while responding to challenges affecting the
livestock sector in the region.
"We need to instill a different mindset on pastoralists to
start thinking about commercial livestock keeping as opposed to
keeping them for prestige." he said.
Abbas noted that the Middle East countries have ready market
for livestock products that Kenya has lost to Somalia.
He said that what livestock keepers need are producer
cooperative groups, proper fodder production and financial
He revealed that FCDC has helped the counties develop a
10-year sectoral development plan that has contributed to the
harmonization and development of a common vision, mission and
He said that FCDC has also developed a common framework for
diseases control in line with the veterinary policy to guide the
efficient and effective delivery of livestock disease control
"We also have a 10 year livestock fodder and pasture strategy
to enhance production and utilization of fodder in the FCDC
region," Abbas said.
Kenya Pastoralist Parliamentary Group (PPG), a group of
legislators, is in the process of legislating the livestock
identification and traceability system through amendment to the
national health act.
During the 2018 financial year, FCDC counties allocated eight
percent of their budgets on livestock and agriculture sector and
have recently agreed to increase the budgetary allocation to 10
percent in 2019.
FCDC has developed plans to purchase vaccines, construct
veterinary laboratories in regions, construct cattle dips,
construct markets, add value to livestock products, pilot breed
improvement, pilot fodder improvement, promote bee keeping and
lay strategies’ on drought contingency.
Declining Kenya livestock
productivity linked to limited awareness
by Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Lack of knowledge by majority of livestock keepers in Kenya is
to blame for the sector’s declining productivity, a study
released on Tuesday has revealed.
The Political and Economy Analysis of the Livestock Sector
said that inadequate skills among herders and limited access to
veterinary services have contributed to low productivity in
Kenya’s livestock sector.
"There is need to increase sensitization activities on
appropriate husbandry practices by the pastoralist communities,"
said the study.
Chris Shimba, policy and research specialist at Kenya Markets
Trust (KMT) said that livestock keepers and traders are not
aware of the existence of laws, rules and regulations guiding
Shimba said that the study found out that most livestock are
of poor quality and small sized with low weights due to poor
feeding and herding for long distance.
He said that for pastoralists and other livestock keepers to
benefit from the sector, there is need to mobilize them into
groups to help them take charge of marketing and avoid
"There is urgent need to upgrade infrastructure to replace
dilapidated roads, lack of market facilities, storage facilities
for beef, hides and skins to increase trade in livestock
products," said Shimba.
Harry Kimtai, principal secretary for livestock at Kenya’s
Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation,
said that the government is planning to revamp the sector that
is crucial to attainment of food security agenda in the country.
"We plan to make the sector more vibrant and profitable to
help improve lives of pastoralists," said Kimtai.
He said that the challenges identified in the study will help
spur efforts towards generating timely data on livestock
resources to support planning for the sector.
According to the study that was done from October 2018 to
March 2019, meat production is well developed but hides and
skins is grossly underutilized with the bulk of hides and skins
neglected to waste.
It calls for incentives to invest in tanneries and leather
manufacturing plants which have potential to turn around the
economies of the entire nation.
It called on the government to shift from traditional policy
formulation to adopt new roles to respond effectively to rapidly
evolving market conditions.
"There is urgent need to promote equitable livestock sector
development through effective institutional and regulatory
framework and allowing private sector to come on board," said
An estimated 600,000 metric tons of red meat is consumed in
Kenya annually with 80 percent to 90 percent being sourced from
pastoralists and the rest from the highland cattle.