“We are trying to regain the regional and global markets that we lost due to regular outbreak of livestock diseases,” the Deputy Director of Livestock Development Mr. Samwel Matoke said at a Nairobi hotel.
Following the ban of Kenyan meat in Europe, the country has been concentrating its exports to the Middle East and regional markets.
Kenya was banned from exporting meat to the Europe in 2008 due to food safety concerns as it failed to create disease-free zones and meet hygiene conditions. This made it lose beef export quota of 400,000 tonnes per year which was given to Botswana that has a fairly well developed livestock sector.
The ban has been prompted by the failure to check diseases like Rift Valley Fever and foot-and-mouth that breaks out unexpectedly and causing deaths of many livestock.
Matoke noted that the disease free zones are being constructed in Isiolo, Taita Taveta and Marsabit.
“We have entered into collaboration with the private sector to help increase investment and introduce insurance cover in the sector,” he noted.
He challenged stakeholders in the sector to embrace value addition to maximize value for production that is capable of contributing Ksh. 300 million in profit generation to the farmers.
Gulleid Abdullahi from the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) said that since livestock contributes 12 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also employs millions of people the sector requires attention.
He said that the sector has been underperforming due to poor infrastructure, limited access to financial services, unpredictable weather patterns, insecurity, lack of strong farmer group, low literacy levels and cultural practices.
“Farmers perception must change towards the sector and begin to look at it as an economic enterprise and not social prestige,’ he added.
Abdullahi observed that the governments to start showcase the commercial viability of livestock keeping and livestock value chain to help make the sector vibrant, viable and competitive,” he added.
He called for a trade forum that brings together livestock farmers and value chain actors for business engagements and development.
“There is need to place livestock as a priority economic growth sector for the national and
County government,” he added.
In the 1970s, the European market was one of Kenya’s major export arena with about 66 percent of canned beef consumed in that market that were exported by the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC).
Today KMC that is the leading meat processing company in East Africa sells its meat products to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Egypt.
Locally it supplies its products to major towns Nairobi and Mombasa and it is in the process of expanding its distribution networks to other towns.
It is also supplying government institutions like Kenya Wildlife Service, Armed forces, Hospitals, The Hotel industry, Universities, Schools and Colleges and supermarkets.