The government has announced elaborate measures that will ensure livestock farming in the country contributes towards food security and at the same time generate income to the farmers.
The Ministry of Agriculture under the Livestock department say it is working on safety protocols to boost livestock exports.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai says the Middle East countries, Oman and Saudi Arabia have expressed interests of exporting live animals from the country.
He said veterinary officers from the said countries have already met with their Kenyan counterparts’ in order to establish protocol that will regulate importation of live animals since, currently, livestock from the country do not meet the set standards.
“The government is also working on a public-private-partnership model and has identified 14 private sector investors. We are negotiating on how to help the pastoralists meet the set standards and enable animals to be exported,” Kimutai said.
A construction of a quarantine facility in Taita Taveta County is underway and will start its operations in 2019 according to the PS will help in ensuring that animals to be exported are clean, satisfied and free of disease.
He said once complete, the facility will be handed to a private operator to run and the government will only benefit from revenues from the export of the animals.
The government is also supporting livestock farmers through a livestock insurance programme where animals are insured and incase of drought, the farmer is given money to buy feed for them.
“Commercial feed load system will also ensure that the farmer offloads the animal instead of keeping them until the effects of drought comes. Here the animals will be kept in a place, fed until they attain the market weight then be slaughtered or exported,” the PS said in an interview at an economic forum organized by the Commercial bank of Africa in Nairobi.
He said the shortage of animal breeds that adapt into conditions of a particular region has been solved by the construction of a modern semen production center in Kitale to help in cattle reproductive challenges.
The Endebess bull station, a state of the art semen production unit that can produce up to a million doses of semen is the second station in the country. The other one is located in Kabete, Kiambu County.
The government is also investing in the modernization of Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), Athi-River plant to boost production and efficiency. The Ministry is exploring on whether to privatize it, have a strategic partner to inject funds to it or bring on board a management contract that will run it afterwards.
“The major challenge at KMC is obsolete machines and cost of electricity that is high. The government is investing in a new line that will operationalize it. Already Ksh 500 million has been pumped into the facility,” Kimutai said.
The Ministry also hopes that by 2019, they will have amended the Branding of Stock Act to allow for the introduction of the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS), to enable livestock owners to easily trace the animals and also help them in securing loans.