Economy

US says lab to boost Kenya meat exports

meat

Workers at the Kiamaiko goat abattoir in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • The Sh225 million renovated Central Veterinary Laboratories (CVL) in Kabete will play a key role in increasing Kenya’s diagnostic capacity for diseases that can be transmitted from human to animals.

The US government has handed over refurbished veterinary laboratories to Kenya in a move aimed at enhancing food safety and boosting international trade in livestock.

The Sh225 million renovated Central Veterinary Laboratories (CVL) in Kabete will play a key role in increasing Kenya’s diagnostic capacity for diseases that can be transmitted from human to animals.

“This facility will go a long way in deepening the relationship between the two countries,” said Mr Erick Kneedler, deputy chief of mission at US Embassy in Nairobi

The laboratories routinely handle and store dangerous pathogens that either affect trade in animals and animal products or are infective to both animals and humans.

“They pose a high-risk for the country if they fall in the hands of people with bad intentions or just accidentally leaked from the lab,” said Director of Veterinary Services Obadiah Njagi.

Kenya is currently trading in live animals and beef cuts with most Gulf states and the country expects the trade to grow in extent and volumes in the coming days, with the new facility aimed at playing a major role.

The animals are currently exported to Kuwait, UAE, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles, with Oman and Malaysia expected to join the list soon.

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya said the rehabilitation of the facilities will enhance biosafety and biosecurity in order to prevent intentional and unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins or their accidental release in the environment.

“This will go a long way in safeguarding both human health, animal health and the environment and also enhance productivity as it relates to food security, safety and trade,” said Mr Munya in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Administrative Secretary Jebii Kilimo.

The labs, which primarily support animal health services, biomedical research and training, was supported by America’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency.