CASH-STRAPPED

Garissa livestock farmers welcome handover of KMC to military

KMC managing commissioner was last week ordered to oversee the transfer of duties

In Summary

• One of the reasons the Athi River-based factory always faced liquidity challenges was non-payment or delayed payment by debtors. 

• KMC has been shut twice in the past (the latest reopening was in 2006) due to mismanagement occasioned by micro-management and politics. 

Kenya Livestock Market Council chairman Dubat Amey addresses the press in his Garissa office on Monday.
FOR PROFITS: Kenya Livestock Market Council chairman Dubat Amey addresses the press in his Garissa office on Monday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Garissa livestock farmers are happy with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to hand over the cash-strapped Kenya Meat Commission to the Department of Defence.

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chairman Dubat Amey said the transfer will make the commission profitable, noting that the military is the biggest consumer of meat, the parastatal's main product.

 “One of the reasons why the factory was always facing liquidity challenges is non-payment or delayed payment by creditors, including the Ministry of Defence," Amey told reporters in Garissa town on Monday.

But he cautioned government ministries and departments supplied by KMC to pay promptly or else the liquidity challenges will continue irrespective of the change of management.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, in a September 7 notice, directed KMC managing commissioner James ole Seriani to oversee the transfer of duties to the KDF. 

"Following the transfer of ministerial responsibility of the KMC to the Defence ministry by the President, you are directed to facilitate a seamless transfer," Munya said.

Seriani was told to "coordinate the entire exercise with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets at the next scheduled supplementary Budget. You are required to submit a fortnight report to my office on the progress made." 

Amey said the machinery at the KMC is old and outdated and consumes a lot of power.

Farmer Ahmed Elmi welcomed the handover but regretted that the modernisation of the Athi River-based meat factory "seemed to be taking forever".

Elmi regretted that the abattoir had twice been shut with latest re-opening being in 2006 following an outcry by pastoralist due to lack of market for their livestock, especially during droughts.

Since the latest reopening, KMC has been marred by mismanagement occasioned by micro-management and politics, leading to losses and wastage of the taxpayer's money, the farmer said. 

“Farmers, who were to be the beneficiaries, never enjoyed the promise given by Narc and now the Jubilee government. The suppliers have been impoverished due to delayed payment of as long as six months or more,” Elmi said.

He appealed to the President and Ministry of Defence to ensure the abattoir benefits all customers irrespective of the number of animals they deliver. 

Edited by R.Wamochie