Livestock producers are set to get a boost from a Sh1.79 billion project aimed at enhancing production.
The project dubbed Kenya Semi Arid Livestock Enhancement Support (K-SALES) is funded by the United States government and will see producers of cows, goats and sheep integrate into a formal market to grow their commercial production.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei says the project will be implemented in three years and will include facilitating farmer field schools, improving infrastructure, facilitating lending, providing training in post-harvest handling and processing while developing the business capacity for farmer cooperatives and producer associations.
The project is expected to benefit 300,000 livestock dependant households, 60,000 livestock producers and about 3,200 agribusinesses.
The sector generates Sh350 billion in sales and accounts for 12 percent of Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Being among the largest livestock producing and consuming economies in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is well placed to be one of the region’s market leaders for valued added livestock producers thus it’s important for the Kenyan livestock sector to increase its competitiveness in the regional market place,” he said.
Among the reforms expected in the livestock sector Include an upgrade of the Kenya Meat Commission where the government is injecting Sh700 million in a bid to bring it back to productivity, as well government plans to introduce modern technology at the facility to enhance production.
“We are also planning a restructure of the human resources in bid to have a productive human capital and cut costs on the wage bill that will reduce costs incurred in running the firm. We have already tendered the exercise to the Kenya School of Government to do a report on our way forward in the human resource department,” he said.
He also said the board of the commission will be named this month after he revoked the appointments of all KMC board members in August, retaining only its chairman Josiah Taraiya ole Kores.
“Further in efforts to strengthen the livestock industry, my ministry is in the process of reviewing the livestock policy to realign the industry with the changing business environment. The ministry is also in the process of coming up with the livestock master- plan which will set the roadmap for the next decade in the vibrant livestock revolution,” he said.
On his part, US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec said more than six million Kenyan pastoralists rely on livestock as a source of Income, with the sector employing more than half of Kenya’s agricultural workforce.
“Agro-pastoralists living in Kenya’s semi-arid regions struggle to survive in the face of unreliable access to water, cyclical drought, livestock diseases and limited inputs and services. We hope this support for livestock producers and related businesses will help Kenya on the path to prosperity,” Godec said.