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January 21, 2019

Garissa to build abattoir to boost livestock returns

Worker at Kenya Meat Commission factory in Athi River /FILE
Worker at Kenya Meat Commission factory in Athi River /FILE

Garissa plans to build a state-of-the-art abattoir to serve the fast-growing livestock market.

It will also serve Wajir, Mandera, parts of Tana River and southern Somalia. The plant will be managed by an outside company. Investors from Egypt and Saudia Arabia have expressed interest.

More than 500 head of cattle are sold weekly across the region. They are ferried to slaughterhouses in Athi River, Nairobi and elsewhere.

Governor Ali Korane yesterday said livestock is the backbone of the county’s economy and said the facility will improve livelihoods.

“It’s time we fully maximised the potential of our livestock sector as 90 per cent of residents depend on it. We want to add value to livestock products to ensure farmers benefit,” he said. Korane spoke at a Garissa hotel where members of the County Investment Board were sworn in.

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council vice chairperson Dubat Amey welcomed the project. He said it will turn the county into an economic hub.

“Such a factory will not only create job opportunities, but also uplift the living standards of our people who have never fully reaped the fruits of livestock keeping. It is long overdue,” he said.

The factory will have a tanning unit where hides will be converted into leather, which will be used to manufacture other products.

Korane said the county lacks the capacity to run a modern abattoir and will contract firms.

“So many players are interested in investing in the livestock sector in Northeastern, among them those from Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“We don’t deceive ourselves that we have the managerial capacity and institutional mindset to run a successful industry. We’ll advertise in newspapers and invite entrepreneurs and people with experience to run the facilities professionally.”

He said that with time residents will be trained so they can take charge. Korane said he has been invited to a meat factory in Finland that serves the whole of Europe.

Trade executive Adow Jubat said the county is rich in resources that should be exploited to fast-track socioeconomic development. He expressed concern that lack of awareness hurts their growth agenda.

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