Kenya’s first extensive livestock expo was held last week at the University of Nairobi’s college of agriculture and veterinary sciences.
Kenya Commercial Bank Foundation chairman Catherine Kola said the expo was aimed at upscaling livestock farming in Kenya.
“We intend to profile various investment opportunities in the livestock sector during the expo, and showcase its potential to the stakeholders,” Kola said.
Themed ‘herding for markets’, the expo sought to bring together extensive livestock producers and policy makers, financiers, buyers and other livestock value chain actors.
The expo brought together 1,000 delegates, close to 100 exhibitors and 10,000 livestock producers from various parts of the country.
It was organized by a consortium of partners including Kenya’s State Department of Livestock, KCB Foundation, AgriPro Focus, Kenya Markets Trust, Kenya Livestock Marketing Council, SNV and University of Nairobi.
“Challenges such as inadequate feeding and poor quality feeds, diseases due to open grazing and livestock movement systems, poor breeds, animal husbandry and inadequate enabling environment have hindered the sector’s development and competitiveness, leading to low productivity. Further, climate change has occasioned massive losses during droughts and the multiple market intermediaries depressing envisaged earnings of the livestock keepers,” said Fisheries PS Prof Japhet Ntiba.
According to Kola, recent trends have revealed an increasing investment along extensive livestock value chains by both the government and the private sector.
“There is need to tap into this trend to showcase the commercial viability of livestock farming in relation to the social-cultural importance attached to livestock by most of the keeping communities,” she said.
The expo was also aimed at promoting the sector as a commercial venture that can earn farmers better incomes for their produce.
Here are a few innovations that were showcased at the expo.
This farm machinery was the biggest attraction as it is multi-purpose and can be transported easily.
According to Stephen Ndung’u, from Nakuru Tiger Machinery Services, the chopper is used to grind maize, maize cobs and hay, chop nappier grass and maize stalks and can also be used to mix two or more types of food materials.
He says a petrol type chopper costs Sh45,000 while an electric one costs Sh50,000 inclusive of delivery in any part of the country.
Other machinery include feed mixers that costs between Sh70,000 and Sh3 million depending on size, chaff cutters at Sh40,000, milking machines that cost between Sh70,000 and Sh200,000 and posho mills going for between Sh70,000 and Sh70 million depending on size.
“The machinery comes with a one year guarantee and by then the owner is conversant with the machine and can do maintenance,” says Ndung’u.
The dorper breed is originally from South Africa but farmers from the Maasai rural training centre in Isinya, Kajiado county, are rearing the crossbreed of dorper and the black-headed persia.
The first pure breed was bought from South Africa at a cost of Sh200,000.
The sheep is kept for meat but farmers who wish to keep it for breeding purposes can buy it from the centre at a cost of Sh35,000.
‘Nyirnyir’ dried camel meat and yorghut
The first camel milk cooperative society called Anolei Women Camel Milk Cooperative in Isiolo county has started processing and packaging camel meat, which is locally known as nyirnyir.
Gerald Mureithi, the manager, says the meat goes through various processes before it is packaged.
First the meat is sliced into rows, then it is sun dried and after drying, it is cut into small pieces, deep fried and eventually packaged. A 50 gramme packet of dried camel meat costs Sh100.
“When stored at room temperature, the dried camel meat has a shelve life of one month and if stored in the freezer, it can stay for almost three months,” says Mureithi, adding that they also make camel yoghurt.
He says camel milk is pasteurised then starch and sugar is added to it before being innoculated with bacteria culture to help in fermenting.
They sell the camel products to the local market. Mureithi says they now want to venture into supermarkets and other retail markets.
A 150 ml bottle goes for Sh40, the 250 ml at Sh60 while 500ml and one litre bottles will cost you Sh120 and Sh140 respectively.
“We receive about 800 to 3,000 or more litres of camel milk daily from our members. Our main market for camel milk is in Eastleigh but during the rainy season when production is high, the market is low and that is why we came up with the value addition,” says Mureithi.
The women cooperative has 29 active members and there are other 91 members who are passive and only supply milk to the active ones.
Francis Ndegwa from Nyandarua showcased sorghum fodder that is not very common with livestock farmers.
He says the E1291 fodder sorghum variety is rich in proteins and energy and can be supplemented with nappier grass.
“It takes two months to mature and can be harvested for two years,” he says.