State targets digital IDs in livestock production goal

A Chef at Rib Racks prepares grilled chicken for customers during the 3rd edition of the Kenya Meat Expo at KICC Nairobi on June 12, 2024. 

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

The government plans to implement a livestock identification and traceability system for efficient record-keeping to improve husbandry.

Under the system, livestock farmers will get a digital identification (ID) for their animals, which would enable them to monitor feeding, and disease control measures such as deworming, tick control, and vaccinations.

Livestock Development Principal Secretary Jonathan Mueke said the tender for supplying the IDs has been floated.

"Livestock farmers will be given a digital ID for their animals, which will enable them to present a certificate of their livestock rearing practices when they take their animals to the slaughterhouse, thus ensuring that they get a fair price," he said during the official opening of the third edition of the Kenya Meat Expo at the KICC in Nairobi under the theme, Revolutionising the Meat Industry for Bottom-Up Economic Transformation.

The PS said the IDs would be a game-changer in controlling the cattle-rustling menace.

Mr Mueke said the ID system would ensure the local livestock supply chain conforms to the global food traceability system.

“Global traceability is extremely important for food items and countries are not going to import your products if you can’t trace them to the farm from where they came from,” he added.

Traceability that follows food production, processing and distribution is a tool for controlling hazards, providing product information and guaranteeing product authenticity.

Nation Media Group CEO Stephen Gitagama highlighted the critical role of the livestock sector, noting that it contributes 12 percent to the GDP and supports about 50 percent of employment in the agricultural sector, benefiting 10 million Kenyans.

"This sector is still underutilised and could contribute close to 20 percent of our GDP and support almost 20 million of our population," said Mr Gitagama.

The sector needs to tap into technology to know where the market is and who can provide inputs.

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