The GCC is new frontier for export of Kenya’s meat and meat products

Workers at the Kenya Meat Commission plant during the launch of the Kenya Meat Expo on November 9, 2021. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG

Did you know that Kenya is a lead exporter of meat and meat products to different destination markets? Yes.

Apart from floriculture and horticultural export products that Kenya is widely known for, our Nyama is loved in other countries just as Kenyans love the famous local delicacy Nyama Choma. Kenya continues to spread the sizzling delicacy to the rest of the world.

According to export statistics, Kenya’s meat and meat products exports in 2020 amounted to USD 65.4 million. The products mainly include goat and sheep meat which comprises 85.3 percent of total meat export, meat from bovine animals including cows (7.1 percent), meat from edible offal (2.4 percent), meat and offal from fowls, rabbits, turkeys, among others.

The top five export markets include United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, South Sudan and Kuwait.

What does this say about the love for Kenya’s meat and the sector at large? That the sector is well-positioned to scale up meat production and feed the world, literally.

During the recent 2-Day Meat and Meat Products Expo held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre under the theme “safe meat for nutrition, health and wealth creation”, the Chief Guest Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, revealed that already, four laws are undergoing the consultative process in parliament to improve the livestock sector.

The four Bills aimed at streamlining the sector include; the livestock Bill, veterinary public health Bill, animal welfare, as well as protection Bill.

The Livestock sector in the country currently 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 total exports in the country.

The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Connection

It is indeed evident that Kenya’s top importers of meat and meat products are from the GCC region.

The GCC Countries include the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the State of Qatar as well as the State of Kuwait.

We cannot talk of GCC especially at this time without mentioning the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai, where Kenya has been actively participating since its kick-off in October 2021 and is expected to end in March 2022.

Kenya is participating under the theme “Feel the Energy,” and is using this expo platform to market and showcase Kenya’s numerous opportunities in trade, tourism and investments.

As such, one of the key business forums that the country through Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency and stakeholders is organising is on 14th February 2022 on Meat and Meat Products in Dubai. The purpose of the forum is to highlight opportunities in the sector to the larger GCC region and attract investments.  

Earlier this month, Kenya resumed the direct export of livestock to Oman after more than 16 years ban. A ship carrying more than 14,000 goats and sheep from different livestock keeping zones left Mombasa port to Salalah Port, Oman, as the two countries agreed to boost livestock trade in the coming years.

This presents a huge potential and a ready market for Kenya’s meat products to Oman, which is part of GCC countries.

As an exports Agency, we are aware of the constraints present in market access for our meat exporters and we are already engaging all key stakeholders in the sector to ensure our products meet global market standards.

Priority Products

We have also enlisted the meat and meat products sector among our 22 prioritized products and points of focus as an agency. Our product prioritization process factors in those products with prospects both in terms of returns and long term growth while also being cognizant of the capacity to meet and satisfy the market requirements.

For Kenya, the journey of growing this industry has just begun. There is still a huge unexplored potential in the export of Kenya’s meat and meat products to countries like the United Arab Emirates, the United States and Oman.

- Dr Wilfred Marube, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency.

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