KENYA – The livestock sector in Kenya recorded a 7.6% growth in the previous year as revenue generation from the sector hit US$1.46 billion (Sh146bn) in 2018 from US$1.356 billion (Sh135.6bn) in 2017.

According to the 2019 Economic Survey report by Kenya Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the fast growing sector attracted significant investment reflected by the 20.2 percent increase in small-holder farmer co-operatives from 518 to 623 in 2018.

This was coupled with a 18.4 percent increase in milk deliveries from 535.7 million litres in 2017 to 634.3 million in 2018.

“Quantities of milk and cream processed increased by 10.6 percent from 410.6 million litres in 2017 to 454.1 million litres in 2018 while butter/ghee and cheese processing experienced a 10.8 percent and 15.5 percent growth, respectively, in 2018,” the report states.

Notably, both private sectors and county government have also increased their investment especially in diary processing facilities across major producing regions.

In the central region, the Murang’a county government commissioned a US$1 million (Sh100m) new creameries while the Embu county government has set aside US$3 million (Sh300m) for a similar plant.

In the western region, Kakamega county has attracted a US$70 million (Sh7bn) deal with a Dutch investor, with Equity Bank pledging US$20 billion (Sh2bn) towards purchase of dairy animals via soft loans to farmers while Nandi county has sunk US$3.5 million (Sh350m).

Increased formalisation of the milk value chain has also informed interest in related industries such as animal feeds, reports Business Daily.

The KNBS survey noted that 2.78 million cows were slaughtered, being 7.3 percent higher than 2017’s 2.59 million cows which also saw 10.2 million sheep and goats slaughtered, a 11.3 percent rise from the 9.2 million sold to abattoirs in major cities.

On rise in pork eateries especially across major upcoming towns as well as meat processing plants, pig sales recorded a 7.8 percent rise where 388,200 pigs were slaughtered compared to 360,100 in 2017.

The livestock industry is transforming radically in response to the increasing demands.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projections, demand for beef in Kenya will grow by 277%, milk by 171% while that for eggs and chicken meat will grow by 289% and 211%, respectively, by 2050.

The livestock sector contributes about 12% of the nation’s gross domestic product and provide employment to about 40% of the national labour force.