Tracing sources of livestock, meat seen expanding trade
Creation of a national traceability database for livestock could help unlock thousands of jobs in the sector. KMT chief executive Kamau Kuria said such a platform will help to boost Kenya’s livestock and products business that has for decades been conducted informally.Earnings from animals and products have been rising from Sh249 billion in 2013 to Sh342.08 in 2017.
Workers at the Kiamaiko goat abattoir in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Livestock value chain developer Kenya Market Trust on Tuesday said creating of a national traceability database for livestock could help unlock thousands of jobs in the sector. KMT chief executive Kamau Kuria said such a platform will help to boost Kenya’s livestock and products business that has for decades been conducted informally.“The system where cows are transported to Nairobi at night, slaughtered in the morning and sold in butcheries as well as eateries on the same day could grow triple-fold if Kenyans knew the source of their favourite delicacy,” he said.
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He said the inability to trace the animals and their products adversely hurt expansion of the meat export trade, dimming access to jobs and denying the economy the much needed revenues.The KMT boss said pastoralists could enjoy higher earnings when meat was graded for sale using quality rather than weight which he said only benefited butcheries.“Increased urbanisation means increased demand for protein (meat) where health-conscious Kenyans prefer to eat meat whose source is known.We are now seeing rise in consumption of white meat and a stagnant or falling demand for red meat,” he said.Earnings from animals and products have been rising from Sh249 billion in 2013 to Sh342.08 in 2017.
KMT, he said, was helping Northern Kenya pastoralists to boost the health of herds through adoption of modern livestock husbandry practices from fodder production, uptake of insurance cover for their animals as well as linking them to markets.Mr Kuria called for closer linkages in carrying out disease surveillance and vaccination campaigns across counties and in the region, saying the livestock business was largely regional based on cross-border migration of livestock in search of pasture.He said counties also need to establish disease-free zones and feedlots to help farmers fatten their animals while reducing chemicals in the animals before they are sold to abattoirs.