- It is estimated that 80 per cent of Kenya’s livestock are found in the ASALs
- Urged the government to rethink its agricultural policies; putting in mind that a large section of its land is not arable.
Kenya has the potential to seal its red meat deficit of 30,000 metric tonnes per year and become Africa’s export hub if good policies are put in place.
Speaking at a meat safety workshop in Naivasha, stakeholders in the meat sector decried duplication of laws, high tax regimes and the government’s poor attention on the segment.
It is estimated that there are more than 20 different law that touch on meat production, making the venture not only expensive but also time-consuming due to stiff neck bureaucracy encountered by investors.
This, they said, has seen Kenya overtaken by Ethiopia and Botswana that are reaping meat export dividends, especially to the Arab nations.
The meat sector has the potential to yield three times that of the dairy industry which contributes Sh100 billion to Kenya's GDP.
According to John Wamahiu, intervention specialist, livestock at the Kenya Markets Trust, the government has neglected the livestock sector, which accounts for 12 percent of the country’s GDP and 40 per cent of the agricultural contribution.
It is estimated that 80 per cent of Kenya’s livestock are found in the ASALs, which cover about 89 per cent of Kenya’s land surface and support 38 per cent of Kenya’s population.
He urged the government to rethink its agricultural policies; putting in mind that a large section of its land is not arable.
"Good investment in the livestock sector will translate to increased profitability, jobs and wealth creation as well as a larger contribution of the sector to Kenya’s GDP,” Wamahiu said.
With the demand for food in Kenya is proportional to population growth and urbaniSation, Kenya Market Trust estimates that the meat deficit is likely to rise significantly when the country’s population hits 97 million by 2050.
It is estimated that an average of 10 kilograms of red meat (meat and offal from cattle, sheep, goats and camels) per capita is consumed annually in Kenya.
Kenya Market Trust anticipates that Kenya’s domestic beef supply will not be able to meet the growing per capita demand for beef, with an estimated shortfall of domestic beef supply of approximately 20 per cent.
The agency’s data shows a significant portion (20 to 25 per cent) comes from livestock raised in neighboring countries with significant livestock populations (Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda), making Kenya a meat-deficit country.