Farmers in Taita Taveta county are set to receive better market value for their livestock, following the launch of a Livestock Identification and Tracking System (LITS) programme.
The project, which will be rolled out in two other Counties has been supported by the KCB Foundation to the tune of Ksh14.6 million.
It will ensure that the livestock meets the required animal health and tracing capabilities, raising their market value and local livestock industry.
It will be implemented by the Kenya Veterinary Association and the Directorate of Veterinary Services both at the National and County levels.
The LITS programme falls under KCB Foundation’s Sustainable Agriculture Agenda and will be rolled out in three counties: Taita Taveta, Kajiado and Laikipia.
The launch took place at Lualenyi Ranch, the largest in Taita-Taveta County sitting on 106,000 acres within the Tsavo ecosystem.
Commencing with 2,600 cattle at the ranch, the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) aims to increase the quality of Kenya’s livestock and support a viable market for local and international trade in animals and animal products, food safety and improve the security of animal assets.
The launch of LITS follows a successful pilot phase in Laikipia County where 45,170 animals have been successfully tagged in 381 premises, supporting 700 local farmers.
“One of the strategic objectives of my ministry is to enhance institutional effectiveness and service delivery. To achieve this, collaboration with other national and international agencies have been crucial,” said Cabinet Administrative Secretary, State Department for Livestock, Lawrence Omuhaka.
“The success being celebrated today is the culmination of such partnership and collaboration. We celebrate the partnership between Lualenyi ranch and KCB Foundation which has resulted in the acquisition of modernized dip and crush series enabling the ranch to manage a total of 2,600 animals.”
KCB Group Director, Marketing, Corporate Affairs and Citizenship, Rosalind Gichuru, noted: “Our goal is to create and enable a reliable marketing infrastructure, both locally and internationally which will contribute towards the growth of the economy while at the same time creating wealth for livestock farming communities.”
The ceremony also saw the ranch receive a new modernized dip and crush, which will be used for disease control, a restraining area for vaccination of the cattle, and will also serve as a loading area for cattle transportation to the market.
“Access to credit from banks is a challenge for farmer producer organizations in the livestock sector due to their unstructured nature. As such, our Sustainable Agriculture Agenda aims to enhance the commercial viability and value chain of livestock farmers from arid and semi-arid areas by enhancing market access and income opportunities,” she added.
On his part, Taita-Taveta CEC, in charge of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Davis Mwangoma acknowledged the role of the LITS programme in generating a competitive livestock market in the county, while increasing animal security and creating jobs for the citizens.
“Over 1.2 million acreage of land in the county is under ranches, there are 30 ranches and conservancies with a livestock population of 45,000 cattle and over 33,000 sheep and goats. The county has immense potential for the production of beef thanks to the diverse vegetation. The sector has continued to grow over the last 10 years with the restocking of ranches, and good management processes,” he added.
Since partnering with KCB’s sustainable agriculture agenda in 2015, the Lualenyi ranch has increased its heard from 400 to 2,600, received market linkage to Choice Meats and continues to receive credit facilities cumulatively to the tune of KShs 14 million with infrastructural support to the tune of KShs 2 million.
The Foundation’s Sustainable Agriculture Agenda began in 2014 as part of the Enterprise Development programme, working with Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) focusing on four value-chains: meat, dairy, apiculture and aquaculture.