The National Government will invest Sh3 billion to set up a livestock processing zone project in Lamu County, aimed at improving the overall national livestock export business.
Subsequently, plans are already underway to demarcate at least 30,000 acres of land belonging to the Livestock Marketing Division (LMD) in Bargoni area as a holding zone for livestock that will then be exported to foreign markets through the Lamu port.
Speaking during an inspection tour of the 2,000-acre marshaling yard within the Lamu Port, where works have already commenced, Agriculture CS Peter Munya, stated that the livestock export project aims at harnessing the potential of Arid and Semi-arid areas, where livestock production is their source of living.
“Apart from the coastal counties, areas such as Garissa, Tana River, Wajir and Mandera will be the main source of livestock for export through the Lamu Port,” Munya stated.
The CS, who was flanked by the Livestock PS Harry Kimutai, and other department officials also stated that with the full completion of the Lamu Port, the country was looking forward to exploit available opportunities not only to import, but also export produce through the port.
“We have been allocated berth one at the Lamu port to use as the terminal to export livestock, due to its close proximity with the marshalling yard, which is already being designed to ensure that it can hold up to 50,000 animals in one take,” added Munya.
The CS however noted that the National Government besides investing heavily in the livestock export segment at the Lamu Port, will also invest in ensuring that animal laboratories are set up in the county to supplement those already set up in Mariakani and Garissa to increase animal disease control.
“We expect that within 4 months the marshalling yard which will be used for livestock export will be ready and that investors looking to invest in the sector through export will be able to use the Lamu Port,” he further stated.
The same sentiments were echoed by the Livestock PS who noted that the project will revolutionize livestock export business in the country.
“Not only will jobs be created both in the formal and informal sector, the GDP of the country is also likely to go up once the livestock export business takes off,” Kimutai noted.
The PS further observed that in 2021 the country exported Sh200 million worth of livestock with Middle East being the main market, adding that the figures will go significantly higher once the livestock export processing value chain is completely set up.
“We need to ensure that the Lamu Port is fully operational and with infrastructure already built and with improvements being made to ensure establishment of institutions such as the pre-quarantine holding in Bargoni area, Lamu Port could easily emerge as the regional hub for livestock export,” he said.
Lamu County Executive for Agriculture, Fahima Araphat, stated that the project has full support of the County Government, with expectations already high that pastoralists in the region will gain from the initiative.
“There is a need for further investment in drought management initiatives to ensure that the country does not lose its capacity for livestock export trade, once the project fully takes off,” she said.
Araphat further added that the National Government had already promised to invest Sh1 billion in building a fish processing plant within the Lamu Port area that would further supplement the county’s ability to trade with new markets.
On his part, Lamu West MP, Stanley Muthama, commended the National Government for setting up the initiative which he noted has the unequivocal support of President Uhuru Kenyatta to boost Lamu’s profile as a port city.
By Amenya Ochieng