Kenyan government to rehabilitate state-owned meat processor with US$2.8m

KENYA – The government of Kenya is set to inject sh.300 million (US$2.8m) in the revamping of the state-owned meat processor plant, Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) in Athi River.

The capital injection is an addition to the already sh.500 million (US$4.7m) spent to revive the ailing parastatal but the Minister of Agriculture CS Peter Munya revealed that modernisation work stalled due to challenges with the contractor.

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The work has since re-started with Munya vowing to see it to the end, “We will not entertain any further delay; we will be back here in August to see what the contractor has done,” he said.

According to reports by The Standard, the government will seek partners from the private sector to ensure that the plant does not shut down.

The CS also hinted that KMC would lease out some of its properties such as idle land to generate more money to run the plant.

In addition, the government is set to settle over-due payment for the plant’s suppliers amounting to sh.380 million (US$3.5m).

The KMC was re-opened in 2006 with the government targeting to promote the meat industry for both the domestic and export markets.

The firm is currently facing operational challenges that have seen production plummet. At the peak of its operations, the Athi River plant slaughtered 500 animals per week which has now reduced to 50 animals.

CS Munya has been touring government project to assess their progress. Last month the ministry halted the establishment of the US$3.4m Bachuma Livestock Export Processing Zone (LEPZ) by terminating the projects contract on account of failure of the contractor to meet the set deadline.

Animal feed barred from market

In other related news, Ireland-based Agritech International has been ordered to withdraw Rumate animal feed additive product in the market after 24 dairy cows died in Narok County, reports Business Daily.

A notice the Directorate of Veterinary Services and Kenya Bureau of Standards issued said marketing of the popular nitrogen-rich product that improves digestibility of dry matter for higher milk yield stands suspended until an inquiry is conducted on what killed the cows.

The firm that has operations in 20 markets was established in 1977 in Nenagh township.

Rumate is popular among dairy farmers for its targeted rumen nitrogen release for dairy and beef animals that improves dry matter digestibility, hence higher absorption of protein.

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“Sale and distribution of Rumate animal feed supplement is suspended following safety concerns raised to pave the way for investigations and dealers must immediately declare Rumate stocks they hold at their stores,” said the notice.

The government also warned farmers who bought the product to desist from serving the same until investigations are concluded to ascertain suitability of the product.

In addition, the government has also announced mass livestock treatment, deworming and vaccination targeting more than 18 million cattle, 26 million goats, 18 million sheep, and 2.2 million camels countrywide.

The treatment and vaccination aim at eliminating foot and mouth, Rift Valley fever and bluetongue diseases.

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