About 90 per cent of meat production in Kenya is in the hands of subsistence farmers and pastoralists. Today, the population of beef and dairy cattle is about 15 million with large scale livestock farmers keeping animals for commercial and subsistence purposes. The distribution of beef cattle is influenced by rainfall patterns. Most animals are kept in ranches in the Rift Valley Province, especially in Nakuru, Trans Nzoia and Kajiado.
Over the years the total value of meat and meat products produced indicated an upward trend with the value of products from cattle and calves increasing from KShs 8,886.4 million in 1999
to KShs 11,476.1 million in 2003. The value of chicken and eggs also increased from KShs1,431.4 million in 1999 to KShs 1.624.5 million in 2003.
Red meat production in Kenya is estimated at 390,000 metric tonnes with the bulk of the supply coming from ASAL areas. According to information from Ministry of agriculture, annual meat production is estimated at beef (320,000 metric tonnes), sheep and goats (70,000 MT), poultry meat 20,000 MT, pigs 11,000 MT and camel meat 6,600 MT (2007).
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In the local market, pork meat is not as popular as other types of meat e.g. beef, mutton or poultry. Most of the pig production is carried out by small holders. The purchase of pigs for slaughter by licensed abattoirs increased from 158,000 heads in 1999 to 175,000 heads in 2003 indicating an increase of 10.7%. Farmers Choice Company is the main processor of pork products e.g. sausages, ham, bacon, salami e.t.c.
A small proportion of the beef supply comes from the dairy herds. Animals are kept in ranches in the Rift valley, particularly Nakuru, Trans Nzoia and Kajiado. Bigger ranches are in Kilifi and Kwale at the coast. Small scale beef farming is practiced in many parts of Kenya. Interest in the sub-sector from investors is growing. Investors have expressed interest in meat processing for products destined for Mauritius and the middle East.
Kenya’s sheep population alone stands at close to 10 million, with the Maasai alone having more than one million. Most of the sheep is indigenous and does well in arid and semi-arid areas. The exotic breeds are in cooler and wetter highlands in Molo, Timau and Nyandarua.
Kenya has about 14 million goats, most of them for meat and milk production. Maasai, Boran, Turkana and Pokot communities keep most of the goat, which are maintained in areas where the environmental conditions make it prohibitive to keep other domestic animals.
Pig farming is well developed and the country has about 500,000 pigs. Some of the pig breeds are large white (Yorkshire), Middle white, Berkshire, Wessex saddle black and Landrace. In Kenya, the chicken is the most important class of poultry although ducks, turkeys and geese are also produced though at a lower scale.
Over the years, the poultry industry has developed due to the demand for meat and eggs, particularly in the urban areas. Poultry numbers are estimated at 30 mil-lion. The most important poultry trade is centered on hybrids developed by cross-breeding pure lines.
Meat Production in Kenya – Game Meat
The contribution of game meat is negligible accounting for less than 1% of the total meat consumed in the country. Game meat is exclusively served in selected high class hotels and restaurants and is associated with big ranches that have to crop their game animals if they gobeyond a certain level. The two main farms that are associated with game meat are Maasai Ostrich Farm in Kajiado county for Ostrich meat production and Nile Crocodile farm in Mombasa
Meat Production in Kenya – Market Conditions
Kenya currently produces meat and meat products both for export and local consumption. The country exports both live animals and processed meat in the form of tinned meat and preparations, bacon etc mostly to East Africa and Middle East regions. Kenya has been exporting more of pork products than beef, mutton and goat meat combined in the last few years. Farmers Choice (FC), the leading processor and distributor of pork products in Kenya, exports about 1,500 tons per year (20% of its total production).Kenya’s total exports declined in 1985 as a result of the closure of the Kenya Meat Commission, who at the time was the leading exporter of canned meat.
Meat Production in Kenya – Regulatory Institutions
- Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development
- Kenya Livestock Marketing Council
Meat Production in Kenya – Reasons to Invest in Kenya
Kenya is an ideal investment location for the meat industry as supported by various investor
friendly factors that include:-
Availability of beef cattle:- Kenya being an agricultural country has an estimated cattle population of 13 million heads out of which 9.7 million are beef, hence the country’s sustained availability of beef cattle.
Political stability:- Since independence, Kenya has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system and crises in neighboring countries.
Access to the preferential market:- Exports from Kenya enjoy preferential access to world markets under a number of special access and duty reduction programmes. These include: East African Community, Common Market for Eastern & Southern Africa (COMESA), European Union-African-Caribbean-Pacific (EU-ACP) Cotonou Agreement, Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Guarantees to Investors:- Kenya provides guarantees to local and foreign investors including against
repatriation of capital and profits and guarantee against expropriation. Kenya is a member of the World Bank-affiliated Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), which issues guarantees against noncommercial risks to enterprises. Kenya is also a member of the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), a multilateral export credit and political risk agency for COMESA member states as well as the
International Council for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Labour availability:- Kenya has abundant and relatively well-educated population; therefore skilled and unskilled labour is readily available at reasonable rates.
Investor friendly arrangements:- The Kenya government guarantees investor friendly arrangements such as the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) program which offers attractive incentives to export-oriented investors and EPZ Authority to provide one-stop-shop service for facilitation and aftercare
Meat Production in Kenya – Investment Opportunities in the Meat Industry
Processing units:- Beef processing units to be put up in major livestock production regions such as the Rift Valley region.
Game meat:- Game meat is a new area, which has a very wide investment scope in Kenya. Areas
like ostrich farming and crocodile farming have already proved to be profitable ventures.
Poultry processing:- At present commercial poultry processing is almost under a monopoly. There is
scope to set up a second large-scale production and processing facility in order to supply chicken at affordable prices to the Kenyan consumers.
Artificial Insemination (AI):- Artificial Insemination Services: Artificial Insemination plays an important role in development of the livestock and dairy sub-sector. Since the Government is in the process of privatising these services, this offers an important opportunity for investment by the private sector.
Dipping Services:- Dipping services are important to tick-borne diseases, which can hinder the development of high quality beef and dairy products. In the past the Government has been providing the services, which are now being privatised. This area offers an important opportunity for private investment.
Animal feeds:- The cattle population in the country is estimated to be over 13 million heads requiring
a substantial amount of animal feeds. The latter is fairly expensive at present and some of poor quality as there is inadequate an uneven distribution of mineral supplementation