Economy

Livestock diseases slow Kenya’s meat exports

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Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Frequent outbreaks of livestock diseases have slowed down Kenya’s efforts to access lucrative international meat markets, officials have said.

Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai said Kenya had received new orders for beef, mutton and other meat products from the Middle-Eastern countries, with the latest being Oman, but has gone slow due to outbreak of diseases.

Mr Kimutai said the department of livestock was working to control the situation and ensure Kenya’s livestock product got access to these markets.

“We have just received new orders from Oman, however we cannot export because of the livestock diseases,” said Mr Kimutai.

Marketing abroad

Mr Kimutai spoke last week during the validation workshop of the Livestock Bill, that among other things, is expected to boost Kenya’s access to the international market through creation of a marketing board.

Livestock Products Marketing Board, which has been proposed in the Livestock Bill 2019, will promote the trade of livestock and products, including signing of trade agreements on behalf of the government.

The new body will also facilitate the marketing of products through provision of market information intelligence on supply and demand locally and internationally.

The Bill has also proposed the creation of animal production unit that will be used for fattening of cows before they are sold.

“This unit will help livestock farmers to fatten their cows and sell it at higher price as opposed to the current situation where farmers are forced to dispose their cows at a throw away price during offtake programmes,” he said.

Kenya has of late been relying mainly on Uganda and Tanzania as key major markets with efforts to open up new destinations slowed down by high cost of production locally that has made Kenya’s dairy products not competitive in the world market.

Mr Kimutai said the Government was working on lowering the cost of production in the country to make animal products competitive in the world market.