NAIROBI, July 1 – The recently revived Kenya Meat Commission is expected to begin recording profits in the next one year, according to the Livestock Minister Mohammed Kuti.,
While admitting that the institution has been facing some teething problems, Kuti revealed that the Ministry had hired consultants to oversee a turn around programme for the institution.
He explained that the institution would require an additional Sh560 million to see the programme through.
“Part of the recovery plan has been exposed to us and we are convinced that the consultants will do a good job in addressing the challenges that have been facing the meat processing institution,” the Minister said.
Among the challenges are the lack of proper distribution channels and stiff competition from players who had filled the gap for the 17 years the institution was not in operation.
On the other hand, Kuti said he feels the increasing cases of livestock disease in the country were the biggest impediment to tapping the industry’s full potential.
Announcing that the country intends to create five disease-free zones, Kuti raised that unless this issue is addressed it would be difficult for the country to reap maximum benefits from the huge demand for Kenyan beef in the export market.
“For instance out of the Sh72 billion the five productive ministries will be requesting to address food security issues, Sh6.5 billion will be set aside to build a disease free zone at the coast.”
Kuti observed that the ministry currently requires Sh850 million to curb the PRP (Peste Des Petits Ruminants) goat and sheep disease that has so far caused the deaths of 27 million animals in the last two years.
PRP is a highly contagious disease of goats and sheep caused by the Morbilli virus, which is close to the Rinderpest virus, and is characterised by fever, necrotic inflammation of the mouth, enteritis and high mortality.
“You may be wondering why this disease is not so much in the limelight, it’s because it does not affect people like the Rift Valley fever,” said Kuti.
“However goat and sheep rearing is the backbone of some farmers in the country and if this issue is not addressed we will spend more money feeding them because they can’t feed themselves.”
Observing that if the disease is not controlled it could cause the death of an additional 15 million sheep and goats in the next three years.
So far, the government has only provided Sh4 million to curb the disease but a number of round table meetings have been held with donors to seek to raise more money.
Meanwhile, Kuti is faulting the current budgetary process for failing to be more reflective of the actual needs of the populace.
Noting that despite the country’s priorities having changed in the last 40 years of independence, he said the budget is still highly based on the fundamentals of fighting disease, ignorance and poverty that were laid down then.
Kuti is of the view that key productive sectors like Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Water and Co-operatives Development should be given more funding compared to the traditional Education and Health sectors.
He argued that the five sectors could generate returns from their budgetary allocations that could be used to finance the key sectors of Education and Health, among others.
Kuti said ministers of the five key productive ministries would be meeting the Finance Minister Amos Kimunya on Wednesday to present a proposal for a Sh72 billion food security fund conceptualised over the weekend.
“Unless we subsidise farmers through inputs and fertilisers and at the same time try to bring down the cost of living through reduction of prices of basic foods, we will not succeed much in trying to revive the economy.”