Meat dealers turn to Voi, Uganda for supplies
Meat dealers at the Kitengela Slaughterhouse are now slaughtering cattle from Uganda due to shortage of livestock following the sustained drought ravaging parts of the country.
Traders are now being forced to source for the animals from neighboring Uganda with the wholesale price of beef increasing from Sh370 per kilo to Sh420. Farmers say 80 per cent of the cattle available locally are emaciated and can’t be slaughtered for human consumption owing to its low levels of glycogen, which has significantly reduced the shelf life of the meat. “Majority of the cattle we are slaughtering here are from Uganda and Voi in Taita Taveta County. We have no option because as local farmers our animals are emaciated,” said Paul Tuleto, a farmer. The traders are selling a 700kg live weight bull at between Sh100,000 and Sh110,000.
“There is a ready market for the cattle. I am booked to supply for the next two weeks. Business is booming for us suppliers,” said a Kariuki Ngugi a supplier.
The suppliers however decried the high cost of transporting the animals from the neighboring which they say is eating into their profits.
Despite the acute shortage of livestock supply, the slaughterhouse management through its chairperson William Kasio has vowed to ensure quality and meat safety standards are adhered to. “The safety of consumers comes first. We are more focused on quality of the meat and that is why we are only slaughtering the healthy animals,” added John Ngii.
Meat dealers in popular nyama choma zones have recorded low business. Most traders say customers have reduced due to the tough economic times and rationed supply also affecting sales. Locals continue being sensitized not to feed on carcasses to avert allergies and food poisoning resulting from infected meat that could lead to sickness or even death.
Kitengela, Ilbisil and Kiserian are known as the ledd urban centres for meat business.
Meanwhile Rice production in Tana and Bura Irrigation Schemes has been a boon to farmers and pastoralists as rice straw now comes in handy as hay. County Director of Livestock Production Nzioka Wambua said rice farmers after harvesting sell the rice straws to pastoralists. Tana River farmers are cultivating the Kwamboka rice variety that was developed by the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation.