New livestock Bill offers farmers fatter earnings

Livestock

Livestock grazing in Loita plains in Narok South Sub county on April Thursday 15, 2021.

Photo credit: Lucy Wanjiru | Nation Media Group

Livestock sector players are hopeful that a proposed law will end the mess they have been trying to clean after years of lobbying the government.The Livestock Bill, 2021, will for the first time provide a window for stakeholders to be involved in formulation of policies jointly with the government.In the Bill that is awaiting debate and validation at the National Assembly, development of the sector will now be funded by the exchequer if it sails through. Livestock inputs and products will, however, be regulated through a proposed Livestock Inputs And Products Regulation Authority (LIAPR). The regulator, which will ensure quality of livestock products being exported meets global standards and shall have a representative from livestock farmer’s organisations and one from devolved units besides other professionals and management officials.The State will also be funding research and capacity building to develop the sub-sector.Presently, the quality of some animal feeds, drugs, and vaccines is compromised. And due to exorbitant prices of these inputs, some farmers no longer see it profitable to engage in dairy or poultry production.“We are happy with the Bill because it will provide us with a platform to engage other policy makers and come up with rules that will transform this sector,” national chairman of the National Livestock Marketing Council Dubet Ali Amey said.The council, which is an organisation of livestock producers and traders from the arid and semi-arid lands, has for more than two decades been struggling to market livestock and associated products for the pastoralist’s communities with little headway.Today as Mr Amey confirms, the main markets for animals from ASAL regions are local butchers.The Kenya Meat Commission (KMC), the sole public meat processor, mainly buys live animals from ranches and big farms.Despite its huge economic potential, the livestock sector, which contributes to 12 per cent of Kenya’s GDP, has remained disorderly and chaotic over what experts attribute to lack of government support.[email protected] 

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