Revamping Kenya Meat Commission will boost farmers
The Kenya Meat Commission is seeking Sh400 million to modernise its Athi River plant and maximise production. The funds will go into installing modern equipment and facilities to process canned beef, as used to be the case decades ago when the commission’s performance was at optimal level.
The firm can boost two pillars of the Big Four agenda through scaled up manufacturing and enhanced food security. KMC acting CEO, James ole Seriani, says the cash it needs will come from the Strategic Food Reserve Fund. Most of it, though, will go into buying livestock from the arid and semi-arid areas.
This will go a long way in cushioning farmers from massive losses occasioned by persistent droughts and further boost value addition.
It is in order that KMC be resourced adequately to help it fulfil its mandate, besides supplying meat to the military, Kenya Police, National Youth Service and other formations.
The move is in line with the goal of attaining strategic food reserves.
Indeed, the quest for rapid movement of livestock products from the former Northern Frontier District is what prompted former President Mwai Kibaki to have Isiolo Airstrip upgraded. The rationale was that with the construction of abattoirs, the airport would aid rapid movement of meat to KMC.
It made sense to build abattoirs close to where the economy was livestock-based rather than transport live animals to Nairobi.
All these activities should help streamline the livestock sector to boost production, earnings and meet dietary and nutritional needs of Kenyans.
What’s more, the menace of livestock rustling, for eons the bane of pastoralist communities would quickly be checked, as livestock movement would be structured. With KMC giving farmers better returns, their lives would be transformed.
Value addition for cattle-reliant farmers , including processing hides and skin for manufacture of leather products such as shoes and bags will boost their economy.