Pastoralists set for major export boon in new plan

Kenya is set to build Africa’s largest livestock quarantine export processing zone in what is likely to more than double the income of pastoralist families.

Sitting on an estimated 9,000 hectares, the Tana River Livestock Export Quarantine is expected to be a boon to thousands of pastoralists who have helplessly watched as their animals are perennially decimated by drought.

With the quarantine, animals will be fattened, kept away from disease and exported, fetching decent earnings. Total investment by the Livestock Quarantine Export Processing Zones (EPZ) Ltd - the company building the facility - is Sh2.1 billion.

Kenyan pastoralists stand to earn as much as Sh20 billion annually by the seventh year of the facility, a situation that is expected to uplift their standard of living.

The development of the facility was approved by the board of the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) in February. It now awaits gazettement by the Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya.  

An amendment of the Export Processing Zone Act, saw the inclusion of livestock and agriculture as other eligible activities at the export processing zones, paving the way for the facility.

EPZA chairman Paul Gicheru described the construction of the livestock quarantine export zone as “revolutionary”, noting that it will contribute considerably to Big Four agenda.

“This thing of animals dying because of drought will be something of the past,” he told The Standard, adding that animals will be quarantined for fattening in a disease-free environment, for export.

He said that construction of the facility would begin soon, “probably in four to six months.”

According to the CEO of Livestock Trade Services (LTS), the company that is set to manage the zone, Chip Stem, once the quarantine has been applied and the animal exported, the value goes from a local market price of Sh5,000 per kilo in Kenya to Sh11,000 per kilo at the destination.

Mr Stem noted that currently, Kenya’s competitors, Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan, do not fatten their livestock before export.  

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