NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 11 – The Livestock Ministry has pledged to have all policies that are currently being formulated to guide various activities in the sector ready by December.
Livestock Minister Mohamed Kuti told reporters on Tuesday that he would particularly facilitate the approval and adoption of the Dairy Policy and consequently the enactment of the Dairy Bill to enable the industry thrive.
“We are set to make sure that every sub-sector of the livestock industry is revived initially by putting policies in place,” he said.
The sector has been operating in a vacuum for many years and this has hampered its contribution towards national economic development. This was especially evident when the country was hit by the Avian flu virus when it lacked the strategies to deal with the pandemic.
The Minister has been issuing circulars when he needs to communicate any information to staff.
Mr Kuti spoke during the inauguration of the new directors of the Kenya Dairy Board, whom he urged to steer the board into greater heights.
“We have about three million dairy cows but we need to have about four million that are producing close to six billion litres of milk by the time your term ends,” he said.
The board, which will be in place for a three year term , is assuming responsibilities at a time when the dairy sub-sector is grappling with the dire effects of a drought that has even affected previously productive areas such as Nyeri and Nyandarua.
However, the price of milk has gone up and so has the demand for dairy products.
“You’ll need to put a lot of strategies in place. You’ll need to go to the non-traditional areas such as Machakos, Isiolo and Mwingi and you’ll need to encourage more farmers to be dairy producers,” he told them.
At the same time, Mr Kuti said that his Ministry required about Sh3.3 billion to assist livestock farmers affected by the ongoing drought in the country.
He added that he would be presenting this case during Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting and was hopeful that they would come up with appropriate measures on how to save the close to 524,000 affected households.
It is estimated that 100,000 livestock have died in arid and semi arid areas over the last two weeks and many more continue to die.
The government has since January been purchasing herds of cattle (which are at risk of dying) and later sells them to the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) for processing into corned beef.
Twenty thousand have been off-taken by the KMC and about 700,000kg corned beef which had fetched Sh100 million.
Mr Kuti also said the Ministry was trying to persuade big ranchers to buy the affected livestock from small scale farmers to ensure that the country retained a reasonable number of livestock even as the off-take plan continued.
The Minister added they were looking into possibilities of giving loans from the Agricultural Finance Corporation to such large scale farmers to enable them purchase more cattle.
The ministry hopes to determine what the animals’ population in the country is during this year’s census that kicks off from the night