The Mifugo Ni Mali Extensive Livestock Expo brought together 1000 delegates, close to 100 exhibitors and 10,000 livestock breeders, livestock keepers, processors, marketers, industry regulators, policy makers among other value chain players from across the globe.
Deputy President William Ruto who opened the expo said the fight against poverty through livestock upgrading initiatives in the country and the region demands large investments in resources.
“We recognize efforts by the private sector given that the livestock industry contributes 12 percent of the GDP of Kenya and employs tens of millions of people in the Horn of Africa,” Ruto said.
He also added that the government has developed various policy guides on various livestock enterprises, which guide investment to improve productivity.
These strategy policies, he said, include: National Dairy Development Policy, National Poultry Policy, Apiculture Policy among others.
Recent trends have revealed an increasing investment along extensive livestock value chains by both the government and the private sector.
The Expo has been organized by a consortium of partners including Kenya’s State Department of Livestock, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) Foundation, AgriPro Focus, Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC), SNV and the University of Nairobi.
According to KCB Foundation chairperson Catherine Kola, there is need to tap into this trend to showcase the commercial viability of livestock farming in relation to the social-cultural importance attached to the livestock by most of the keeping communities.
“We intend to profile various investment opportunities in the livestock sector during the Expo, and showcase its potential to the stakeholders,” Kola said.
The expo aims to promote a market-led approach and profile investment opportunities that unlock the sector’s potential by providing a marketplace for deal-making, place livestock as a priority economic growth sector for governments both at regional, national and county level and explore opportunities for enhanced livestock marketing during drought crises.
The livestock sector plays an important economic and socio-cultural role among many Kenyan communities contributing to food and cash needs of the farmers while providing employment to over 10 million people in East Africa.
The sector contributes 12 percent of the total GDP and 40 percent of the agricultural GDP in Kenya.
Fisheries Permanent Secretary Professor Micheni Ntiba highlighted various challenges that hinder the sector’s development and competitiveness, leading to low productivity.
“Further, climate change has occasioned massive losses during droughts and the multiple market intermediaries depressing envisaged earnings of the livestock keepers,” he said. Enditem