Relief for farmers as Kuwait, Bahrain lift ban on local meat
Kuwait and Bahrain have lifted a ban on Kenya’s meat after the latter complied with the set global health standards at export processing facilities, offering relief to exporters and farmers.
Meat value chains have since August 5, 2021 not been exporting meat and meat products to Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait following an outbreak of Rift valley fever disease that was reported in some segments of Kiambu county.
Kenya Meat and Livestock Exports Council of Kenya, a group of Kenyan meat exporters, claimed that local traders have for the last about two months incurred losses following the closure of the lucrative Middle East markets.
“These countries are some of our major and lucrative export destinations and thus denial access is a big blow to our farmers and traders.
Qatar while imposing the ban raised concern over the traceability issues of local meat and meat products,” said Nicholas Ngahu, the council CEO.
During a media breakfast on enhancing hygienic standards and competitiveness in the meat industry organised by Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), Ngahu said exports to the three countries stand at between Sh3.5 billion and Sh4 billion every year.
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development under the Business Scouts for Development programme has partnered with the Kenya Markets Trust in a one year project to increase efficiency and profitability of the livestock sector.
The programme that seeks to strengthen evidence for the business case for meat processors to invest in skills, technologies and product innovation is being implemented by the Germany Development Agency (GIZ).
Other value chains to be involved include Kenya Association of Manufacturers, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, Kenya Chamber of Commerce, Retail Trade Association of Kenya and Finance, Trade and Investment Network.
Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai confirmed that the three countries imposed the ban after Kenya reported an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in Kiambu County to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).
“WOAH requires that any member country must report an outbreak of any communicable disease.
Following the report Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain stopped exports from Kenya until the issue at hand is sorted out,” Kimtai said on phone.
He said the government and other value chains mobilised resources and started vaccination exercises in the affected area of Kikuyu Sub County to reduce the spread of the disease and losses to the farmers.
“We have significantly contained the disease and reported back to the management of the WOAH which equally has led to Kuwait and Bahrain to lift the ban.
However, Qatar is yet to remove the sanction as some joint protocols are yet to be agreed,” Kimati added.