KENYA – The Ministry of Agriculture has vowed to scale up meat supply in the country through reforms which it said will enable it to meet the 1.5 million cattle quotas gap of meat distributed yearly.
Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, during the launch of Kenya’s first-ever meat expo revealed that already, four laws are undergoing the consultative process in parliament to improve the livestock sector.
The two-day expo organized under the theme ‘safe meat for nutrition, health and wealth creation, is aimed at providing a platform for knowledge exchange network and technology transfers among key stakeholders in the industry.
“To demonstrate the importance attached by the government with the meat industry, reforms on policy, legislation and institutional governance have been placed for the livestock sector,” he said in a speech read by Principal Secretary in the state department of livestock, Harry Kimutai.
The four laws; the livestock bill, veterinary public health bill, animal welfare, and protection bill will be tabled in parliament for approval. According to the CS, the government, will in the next six months, complete developing a comprehensive livestock master plan, which will enable the creation of a conducive and regulatory environment to ensure the industry thrives.
“The purpose of this review is to remove ambiguities and align them with the spirit of devolution to address emerging challenges and make the livestock sector modern and competitive as envisioned in vision 2030,” he added.
The Managing Commissioner at the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), James Githaga, said that the expo will enable Kenyans to know what the commission is undertaking in order to scale up meat production in the country.
He added that KMC was leveraging on technology and had facilities to store meat for up to 6 months and had a storage capacity of 16,000 metric tons of meat which would help tackle food insecurity.
Meat demand-supply gap
The livestock sector in the country accounts for 12 percent of the Gross domestic product (GDP) and in the financial year 2020, exports of meat and its product accounted for 1.1 percent of exports in the country, according to Capital News.
“This is a low number and it shows us that there is a lot of work for us to do. We are aware of the constraints present in market access and we need to engage all our stakeholders. We, therefore, need to improve our standards to meet the market standard,” said Wilfred Marube, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Exports Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA).
Meat stakeholders have over time decried the increased supply-demand gap in the sector as well as duplicated government policies as some of the hindrances facing the success of the livestock sector.
The stakeholders from the Kenya Markets Trust, Kenya Meat, Livestock Exporters Council of Kenya (KEMLEIC) said poor government policies, high taxation, unnecessary duplicated bureaucratic policies, and lack of experts in the sector are among challenges facing them.
“There are approximately 20 different laws that touch on meat production stifling the business and thus creating a huge barrier to those willing to venture in the business,” Nicholas Ngahu of the Meat and Livestock Exporters Industry Council of Kenya said previously.
Kenya is a high net importer of meat despite boasting of the second-largest reserves of livestock in Africa with the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands occupying 80 percent of Kenya’s region.
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