With the rapid growth of the human population across the globe, the demand for meat and value-added products are expected to increase.
The tremendous growth, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, offers Kenya a platform to explore more opportunities in livestock production.
Amid expectations that the global population will hit the nine billion mark by 2050, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has called on livestock farmers to increase their output.
Addressing participants during the official opening of the second edition of the Kenya Meat Expo at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) yesterday, Mr Linturi cited the continuous demand for meat products, leather, and other products in the livestock value chain as additional proof of a sector with immense prospects.
Globally, 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for a livelihood.
“The sector has the potential to create numerous job opportunities, especially for young people and women,” Mr Linturi said. Kenya's meat industry has been growing over time as processed products fetch a lucrative market both locally and internationally, said Mr Linturi.
He urged livestock farmers to adopt modern technologies in processing as part of efforts to achieve industrialisation in the sector.
Mr Linturi reiterated the government’s commitment to developing the livestock sector, saying, the move includes putting in place policies to enable local producers to meet global standards for animal products.
“We intend to do a total overhaul of the whole sector to align ourselves with global market standards, introducing insurance and off-take programmes in regions classified as Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (Asal), which contribute significantly to Kenya’s meat output,” he said. In order to achieve the goals, the CS said the government would partner with players in the private sector.
“The Meat Expo provides livestock farmers a platform to network, interacting with various actors in the sector, suppliers, marketers and learning modern technologies enabling them to process meat products,” Mr Linturi said.
The show made a comeback after a one-year break, with local and foreign exhibitors showcasing a range of products. Also on display were modern technologies and equipment for processing.
“According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, global meat demand is expected to increase by 170 per cent. This, therefore, calls for increased investment in the livestock sector,” said the Principal Secretary in the State Department for Livestock Development, Mr Harry Kimtai.
Mr Kimtai said his ministry is looking forward to making the Kenya Meat Expo an annual event.
The conference is an initiative between the State Department of Livestock Development, private stakeholders and development partners, including Nation Media Group (NMG), the main organiser.
“Africa sits on 65 per cent of the uncultivated arable land left in the world, so what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world.”
“This means there are immense investment opportunities in the livestock sector that we need to be aware of and seize the moment to take leadership in Africa,” said NMG Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gitagama.
With the media company being at the front line in showcasing opportunities in various areas such as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), education, agriculture, climate change and manufacturing, Mr Gitagama said that the initiative is aligned with its plans to “positively influence society”.
“Hopefully, such kind of exhibitions will be extended to the counties to reach out to farmers,” Mr Gitagama said. The three-day event in the capital has attracted participants from all over the country.
The first edition in 2021 attracted over 70 exhibiting companies and more than 10,000 participants, with the NMG Commercial Manager, Mr James Sogoti, saying that this year’s event has a similar number of exhibitors gracing the conference.
This year’s theme is ‘Promoting resilience in the meat industry through investment and innovation for job creation and economic growth’.
Other strategic partners are the Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency, the Kenya Meat and Livestock Exporters Industry Council, the Retail Trade Association of Kenya, the United States Agency for International Development, Gatsby Africa and the Kenya Meat Commission.