State-owned meat processor Kenya Meat Commission handed over to Ministry of Defence

KENYA – The struggling Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) has been transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to the Ministry of Defence following an order from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The military will now run the cash strapped state-owned meat processing plant in Athi River, in a move aimed at boosting its operations and survival, reports KBC.

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To this end the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya has directed Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai to facilitate a seamless transfer of Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) to the Ministry of Defence.

“Following the transfer of ministerial responsibility of the Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence by the President, you are directed to facilitate a seamless transfer of Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence,” he said.

The memo to the PS was also copied to KMC Managing Commissioner James Ole Seriani directing him to ensure the process is coordinate with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets at the next scheduled supplementary budget.

“Ensure that you coordinate the entire exercise with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets at the next scheduled Supplementary Budget. You are required to submit a fortnight report to my office on the progress made,” the memo read.

This is the latest move to bestow the military with such operations in a series that indicate the president’s trust and hope in the entity in managing some sections of the civil service.

“Following the transfer of ministerial responsibility of the Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence by the President, you are directed to facilitate a seamless transfer of Kenya Meat Commission to the Ministry of Defence,”

Peter Munya – Agriculture Cabinet Secretary

Following the move, allocation of funding for KMC will now come from the Ministry of Defence who will be expected to invest and modernise the plant as well as help expand its market both locally and internationally.

The Cabinet Secretary said the Defence Ministry was best placed to take over the entity as Kenya Defence Forces are the biggest consumers of meat products from KMC.

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“KDF is the biggest market for KMC and we actually import meat for them,” said Mr. Munya. “KMC has been moved for synergy and to help invest properly.”

He also noted that the move was also aimed at dismantling cartels who have been preying on the organisation.

Operating below capacity

According to reports by the Daily Nation, the government-owned entity is operating below capacity and is grappling with an unreliable supply of raw materials and an ageing plant, which has slowed down its operations.

The Athi River-based plant slaughters 200 cattle per week, despite it having the capacity to process the same number of animals per day.

The poor performance by the firm has been escalating since the 1960s because of political interference, obsolete machinery, and loss of the European Union market due to animal diseases.

Despite the ravaging woes, the government has been injecting funds into the entity in a bid to modernize it, make it operational, packaging it for sell to a strategic investor.

In June the government revealed that it is seeking to inject sh.300 million (US$2.8m) to revamp the plant, an addition to the already sh.500 million (US$4.7m) spent to revive the ailing parastatal.

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