The Narok Governor, Samuel Tunai has directed the Department of Livestock in the County to start a sensitization programme for farmers on how to uphold the quality of hides and skins to enable the products get a market.
Speaking in Lolgorian Ward on Monday, where he launched a livestock vaccination and ground-breaking ceremony for a livestock sale yard, Governor Tunai regretted that farmers were being turned away with raw hides and skins at the Ewaso –Ngiro tannery because of poor quality products.
He said the programme will help the farmers to understand the value of hides and skins and how to care for them in order to reap premium returns.
Tunai made a passionate appeal to herders to abandon the culture of branding their livestock traditionally so as to meet the required market standards at the tannery for international end market products.
The Maasai Community have a culture of making special marks on the body of an animal for identification using a sharp object or hot iron and these markings end up destroying the hide or skin leading to rejection and degeneration of value hence great monetary losses.
The custom of branding livestock affects the quality of hides and skins and hence the finished products. Farmers will now be trained on the best practices of how to handle skins and hides in order to produce the best quality raw materials for the factory.
“We want to make sure that the imperfections on the hides can be eliminated and there are best practices that can be introduced such as better knives during slaughtering,” Tunai added.
The Mega Tannery and Leather Factory construction that is partly operational is estimated to cost over Sh.1.4 billion when fully complete with phase one of the project that involved the construction and installment of the machines at the tannery to a tune of Sh.900 million being complete and operational.
The project is funded by the government at a cost of over 1.4 billion through Ewaso Ng’iro South Development Authority (ENSDA).
The Pastoral Livelihoods Resilience Project (RPLRP-Kenya) Regional Program Manager, James Tedo, who was present said the new Lolgorian Livestock Sale Market which is centrally placed will assist farmers sell more than 1,500 sheep and goats in addition to more than 1,000 cattle per day.
He also called on farmers to ensure they frequently check on their animals` health especially during the rainy season that may lead to an outbreak of Blue Tongue and Lumpy skin diseases and advised them to seek professional advice over medical condition of their animals.
By Mabel Keya–Shikuku