The government has been asked to lower the cost of animal production to curb infiltration of cheap animal products into the country.
The Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) Chairman Dr. Samuel Kahariri said the cost of production in the country was too high making it difficult for farmers to enhance their output.
As a result, he said, cheap products from neighboring countries where the cost of production is lower have flooded the Kenyan market further pushing local farmers out of business.
“The cost of producing an egg in Uganda is Sh.4 while here in Kenya it is Sh. 7. That is why businessmen are sourcing for the eggs from Uganda to sell here,” he said.
This, he said was unhealthy for the country’s economy since other parties involved along the livestock production chain among them feed manufacturers were equally being driven out of business.
Speaking in Kisumu on Wednesday during the annual KVA scientific conference, Dr. Kahariri challenged the government to urgently develop policies that will reduce the cost of production to enable the sector to play an active role in economic development.
To enhance food security in the country, livestock production he said was key and urged the government to prioritize the sector.
“ Eighty per cent of the country is arid and semi arid which favors livestock production. Therefore as a country we must take advantage of this and scale up production,” he said.
Overreliance on crop production, he added was to blame for food shortage in the country due to unpredictable weather patterns.
Speaking during the same forum, Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS), Andrew Tuimur said the sector was key in helping the government realize the Big Four agenda.
The Ministry, he disclosed is in the process of establishing a Livestock and Livestock products marketing board (LMB) to offer strategic direction for livestock production and marketing.
The policy document that shall pave way for the establishment of the Board, he said was before Parliament which is receiving memoranda from farmers and members of the public before it is enacted.
The board, he said shall scale up marketing strategies for Kenyan livestock and livestock products locally and internationally.
“This is going to ensure that our farmers fetch good prices for their produce locally and on the international market,” he said.
To lower the cost of production, the CAS disclosed that the government shall zero rate feeds and other inputs to ease the burden on farmers.
He said vaccination and disease control shall be scaled up to ensure that Kenyan products are rated highly on the international market.
On infiltration of cheap animal products into the country, the CAS said the market was liberalized adding that the government shall do everything possible to ensure that what comes in meets the required standards.
The scientific conference which kicked off today brings together over 400 veterinary doctors, surgeons and practitioners to discuss various issues affecting the sector.
By Chris Mahandara