NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The Livestock Ministry intends to build slaughter houses and export trading centers near international airports, as it gears for more aggressive marketing for the United Arab Emirates market.
Livestock Minister Mohammed Kuti said the government would invite foreign investors to help build extra tanneries and abattoirs to help get meat and leather products out into the United Arab Emirates which is Kenya’s biggest beef market.
“We want to line up the abattoirs near international airports where meat can be processed and be shipped off immediately to the UAE. We are now in a major competition with Brazil, India and Australia to make sure that Kenyan beef arrives fresh on tables. We are the only country whose beef is organically red,” Kuti revealed.
The minister, who was speaking during celebrations to mark the re-launch of the Kenya Leather Development Council (KLDC), also called on local communities to set up SACCO’s to help in job creation and the alleviation of poverty.
“The upcoming abattoirs will be linked to the investors once they show interest, and therefore KLDC and Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) will ensure the quality of processing and the market is top of the range. KLDC will also get rid of the underhanded dealings in the sub sector because corruption has been hindering the progress of the sub- sector,” he affirmed.
The minister also said the leather industry has high potential but delayed policies (that are currently before Parliament for debate) are holding the industry back.
Kuti added that the leather sub sector has had progressive growth for the last 15 years.
“Our export through processed leather to semi-processed has increased from 85 percent export of raw hides and skins. This production facilitated the increase of operational tanneries from
nine to 13 by the end of 2010. Once my ministry finishes construction of the new tanneries by the end of this year, it will bring the total number of tanneries to 19,” he enthused.
KLDC is currently involved in research on aspects related to environmental protection on the curing and tannery effluent management so as to enhance adoption of greener production of leather and leather products.
This is expected to ensure access into premium markets such as the European Union, Asia and Middle East among others.
The leather industry posted Sh5.8 billion last year in revenues and hopes to reach Sh8 billion this year.