How to expand livestock sale from Kiamaiko to Dubai
SEE ALSO :Farmers oppose livestock registerUnlike this lady entrepreneur and existing exporters, the vast majority of Kenyan livestock traders cannot compete on the global stage. Even if that goat at Kiamaiko or in the rangelands of Makueni was weighing a hefty 40 kilos, it would fetch zero in many lucrative and reliable foreign markets. That’s because of the stringent requirements that these markets impose on meat and live animal imports. These requirements might appear overly harsh but livestock owners in Kenya in communities like the Maasai always know intimate details of individual animals even if they own hundreds of such. We just need to translate that traditional skill into a contemporary benefit. In this regard, those intimate growth details must be recorded and be inclusive of feeding, treatment and overall breeding of respective animals as required. Fattening and rearing At a larger level, and to standardise the quality of our meat and live animals before they are exported, large-scale slaughterhouses and quarantine services are critical. In fact, each of the 47 counties should establish at least one quarantine area dedicated to fattening and rearing livestock for export. The Export Processing Zone Authority has set the pace by developing a Sh2.1 billion livestock export quarantine centre in Kibusu ranch, Tana River County. Livestock reared in this quarantine centre will meet the global livestock export standards. Consequently, millions of cattle reared in this particular quarantine centre will fetch billions on the global market. It is cheaper for the Gulf States to import livestock from countries like Kenya because of our proximity compared to a country like Australia, a prominent livestock exporter. In 2019, Australia exported 1.3 million head of cattle, which was a lot more than Kenya. Against this backdrop, Kenya must wage a ‘livestock war’ against Australia. It is a war that will be fought on our vast ranches and rangelands, not on a battlefield. This ‘livestock war’ must begin with a rallying call for us to export more livestock than Australia within the next five years. Leaders should talk about this in their much beloved political rallies. Corporates should echo such a message in their Annual General Meetings. Even religious bodies should rally their congregants accordingly. Leading this charge should be our young people. As they post about that new attire or sizzling meal that they are about to have, they should mention #exportmorelivestockthanaustralia. Such grassroots fervor will pressurise investors and our county governments to establish those quarantine centres and modern slaughterhouses across the country and step up extension services to millions of livestock owners. Millions of youth who are pastoralists and even small-scale livestock owners in this country should be systematically and consistently supported to reap optimal dividends from their livestock. If most of them can export their livestock to the global market within a few years, then Kenya will successfully produce livestock products that will fetch higher returns. This is not complicated stuff! We only have to think green and act green! – The writer is founder and chairperson, Green Africa Foundation. www.isaackalua.co.ke
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