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10 million Kenyans derive their livelihood from livestock

The Government is in the process of developing strategies, policies and legislations which are systematic in order to address the challenges affecting the livestock sector, Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Livestock, Mr. Harry Kimtai has said.

The PS said that the reforms would ensure that the policy instruments guiding the sector are responsive to the expectations of the stakeholders.

Kimtai noted that the State Department for Livestock has embarked on a variety of policy and legislative reform measures that include: Livestock Bill which is published by the National Assembly to address the legislative agenda for all unregulated aspects of the livestock sector.

Speaking during the workshop on prioritization of livestock policy and legislative agenda in Machakos town, the PS added that despite the potential the livestock sector has, there are various challenges hindering its growth such as inadequate implementation of policy and legal framework.

The PS said that the rural-based nature of livestock activities makes livestock keeping a suitable enterprise to improve the livelihoods of many communities as a source of food and nutrition security, household incomes, employment and poverty reduction in general.

Kimutai said that Department for Livestock has also reviewed the veterinary laws to align them to the constitution and developed the animal health bill, veterinary public health bill and development of specific commodity strategies, sub policies and plans.

He said poor breeds, inadequate feeds during dry season, pests and diseases, poor infrastructure and inadequate funding are the most common challenges facing livestock centre.

“Other emerging issues such as weak monitoring and evaluation systems and anti-microbial resistance must be addressed in order for the sector to realize its full potential,” added PS Kimtai.

Chief Administrative Secretary for livestock, Mr. Lawrence Angolo, said  livestock sector in the country employs  about 50 per cent of the agricultural labor force, with over 10 million Kenyans living in Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs) deriving their livelihood largely from livestock.

CAS said that the livestock sector plays an important economic and Socio-cultural role in Kenya.

Angolo noted that the sector contributes to about 42 percent of the agricultural GDP and 12 percent to the National GDP.

CAS Lawrence Angolo State Department for Livestock and Agriculture, speaking to the media at Gelian Hotel in Machakos County, during the workshop on Legislative Agenda and Prioritization of livestock policy. Photo By Ann Kangero

“The sector provides domestic requirements through meat, milk and eggs among others and indirectly through hides, skins and feather products,” says CAS.

The CAS added that policies and legislation play important roles in the National Government, being critical in the implementation of the Constitution.

“To support the development of the livestock sector, there is need to provide a predictable means of implementing policies, legislation, sector strategies and investment plans,” added Angolo.

He emphasized that policies and laws help to create order and regulate aspects of the livestock sector.

“Appropriate policies and legislative measures will ensure that Kenyan livestock and livestock products remain globally competitive and sustainable, while enhancing the livestock sector’s contribution to the country’s economy,” said Angolo.

Others in attendance were Director of Veterinary services Dr Obadiah Njagi, Director of Livestock Production Mr. Bishar Elmi and Director of Livestock Policy Research and Regulations Dr Christopher Wanga among other Ministry of Agriculture delegates.

By Ann Kangero

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