The price of a piece of donkey skin has gone up from Sh100 in 2016 to Sh1,000 this year.
This is due to the high demand for the skin byproduct called ‘ejiao’ used by Chinese to make anti-aging products.
Dr Obadiah Njagi, the director for the Directorate of Veterinary Services, said trade in donkey skin and meat is a new idea in Kenya and Africa as a whole. It is driven by the demand for donkey products in China.
“We recognise the dynamics of the changing times and environment, but this comes with challenges that need to be continuously reviewed to ensure sustainability of such trade,” he said.
Njagi said there is concern from organisations that work for donkeys’ welfare and communities that use donkeys, on the opportunity created by the trade in donkey products. He said criminals steal donkeys for their skin.
“This matter is being looked into. A committee was set up to look into this trade and give a report on how the illegal trade can be contained,” Njagi said.
The illegal trade is a threat to food safety and poses a risk to public health and environmental pollution.
“This is a challenge that cannot be solved by the government alone, but by all stakeholders and the public,” Njagi said. Dr Michael Cheruiyot, the Vet services deputy director, said this has lead to an increase in bush donkey slaughtering and emergence of illegal donkey skin stores in Nairobi.