OPEN UP MARKET

New livestock regulations to boost trade on global stage

Rules form part of the Animal Health Act, 2019, and provide strict guidelines on identification of livestock and boost the safety of products.

In Summary

• The Livestock Identification and Traceability System Regulations will strategically position farmers as players in global trade, thus improving their income.

• All farmers will be issued with a unique code that will make it easy to trace the source of products in the market.

Cattle graze at the roadside
Cattle graze at the roadside
Image: FILE

The new livestock regulations being formulated have been lauded as crucial to opening Kenya to the international market.

Charles Ochodo, the head of policy and veterinary governance at the Directorate of National Veterinary Services, said the Livestock Identification and Traceability System Regulations, 2019, will strategically position farmers as players in global trade, thus improving their income.

He said the regulations, which form part of the Animal Health Act, 2019, provide strict guidelines on identification of livestock and boost the safety of products consumed locally and internationally.

“To ensure public health, all farmers will be issued with a unique code that will make it easy to trace the source of products in the market,” Ochodo said.

“The code will contain a unique number for the cow and the farm origin information. This will also be recorded in the product packet. If the product causes harm to the consumer, the number will be used to trace the owner.” 

He spoke in Voi during a public-participation meeting that brought together sector stakeholders from the Coast and Lower Eastern regions.

The regulations will also provide a recognised framework for identifying and tracking livestock products from the origin, thereby assuring buyers of product quality. They will minimise cattle rustling, keep tabs on the output, ensure public and animal health by tracking vaccination and control their movement.

Each county director of veterinary service will keep accurate, up-to-date and reliable data of animals. The county veterinarian chief will also be required to register all establishments, farm holdings or premises where animals are kept, and issue animal identification numbers consisting of not more than 15 digits.

No animal will be presented to a slaughterhouse without an identification device.

“In parts of the country where cattle rustling is rampant, this will also be a way of solving such menace since all livestock shall have their unique tags. Stolen livestock will be easily be traced and possibly perpetrators punished,” Ochodo said.

Subsequently, the Veterinary Director-General shall appoint a National Livestock Identification and Traceability System registrar who shall be the custodian of the central database.

Taita Taveta Wildlife Conservation Association director Everest Lenjo welcomed the regulations and appealed to the country to emulate other global livestock traders and open the market for Kenyan farmers.

“Some countries like Botswana, Malaysia and Singapore are doing very well in the global market because they have the best regulations. The only problem with our country is that we make very good laws and blueprints that are hardly implemented,” Lenjo said.

He noted that Kenya is best positioned to control the beef market in Europe and the Middle East, and urged the government to establish clear and implementable guidelines that will enable meat exporters to comfortably take over the global trade.

(Edited by F'Orieny)