• In 2016, Kenya's total annual livestock products value was estimated at Sh494 billion.
• Livestock keeping provides 90 per cent of county livelihoods.
Wajir county cannot afford to let the livestock subsector suffer as that would leave its economy in ruins, Governor Mohamed Abdi said yesterday.
He said residents, and even the whole country, depend on livestock, hence the need to improve the subsector and guard it jealously to change lives.
Abdi said livestock keeping provides 90 per cent of county livelihoods. He spoke at the Giriftu Livestock Training Institute in Wajir West during its second graduation ceremony. He was the chief guest.
About 13 million Kenyans living in the arid and semi-arid regions derive their livelihoods mainly from livestock production. The regions account for about 70 per cent of Kenya’s livestock population.
“Thanks to devolution, we have a chance to support the sector the best way we can. We no longer have excuses that have been there for years of the sector being neglected by the national government like has been the case for decades,” Abdi said.
The county chief regretted that the subsector is grappling with several problems that the county alone cannot fix. He, therefore, called for support from the national government and development partners.
Statistics indicate that the subsector contributes about 14 per cent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product. That translates into 40 per cent of what the agricultural sector contributes to the GDP. It accounts for half of the employees in the agricultural sector.
In 2016, according to a DLP report, the resource base for the agricultural sector was valued at Sh795 billion. Of this, the total annual livestock products value was about Sh494 billion.
Abdi said his administration will continue supporting the institution, which trains and equips students with essential knowledge and skills, so “our capacity in animal health and range management staff requirement can be easily addressed.”
“This stamps the essence of having an institution that takes care of our mainstay, highlighting the need for us to continue offering the institute every bit of support that it needs to establish itself and gain its footing,” he said.
Principal Bishar Elmi said despite the numerous challenges they face, including underfunding, they are committed to upholding quality and standards in their courses to promote effective specialisation and excellence.
(Edited by F'Orieny)