Monday, Feb 27th Last update: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 5pm

As livelihoods of the pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in north-eastern (NE) Kenya are dependent on livestock production, particularly the goats of breed galla, that are kept by the Somali and Boran communities of Kenya; and are among the major livestock types kept by most households that have livestock in the region where livestock and the goat, in particular, are important in the socio-cultural and economic lives of the local people. For the attached importance, a comprehensive goat value chain study was conducted in 3 counties of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir in Kenya to review and assess the current goat value chains in ASALs of north-eastern Kenya in order to identify the critical constraints and explore opportunities for goat value chain development.

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Livestock in sub-Saharan Africa represents on average 30% of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and about 10% of the national GDP. It is estimated that most of the  250 million people in arid and semi arid lands depend on livestock for their income and livelihoods in this region. However, the sector is seriously constrained by animal diseases, inadequate investments and poor policies; among others  Furthermore, unfavorable government policies have contributed to under-funding from the public and private sectors, as well as contributed to poorly functioning institutional settings and weak implementation capacity of policies, regulations and standards that can enhance inter-member states  and external trade.

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The Horn of Africa countries export 50% of live animals and less than 10% of meat that is demanded annually in Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) countries yet these countries have a preference for livestock and meat from the Horn of Africa region. The limited exports has partly been due to limited coordination  between the trade counselors, exporters and chief veterinary officers. The gap has been  in terms of real time market information and dissemination on import requirements as well as commodity prices and limited promotional and linkage efforts.

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Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with FAO, with financial support from Italian Development Cooperation is implementing the regional project; Improving supply of safe and quality livestock and meat exported from the Horn of Africa to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The project has provisions  to support private and public sectors from IGAD member states to participate on the Gulf food fair (GFF) which happened from 21st to 25th February, 2016. Meat exporters and Ministry of trade government officials /external trade unit/participated.  The latter were supported for sustainability of coordination of promoting  the private sectors (livestock & non-livestock commodities) like Ethiopian Ministry of trade is doing  participated in the fair. The delegation was led by Dr. Solomon Munyua, Ag. Director and coordinated by Dr. Ameha Sebsibe, Head, Livestock and Fisheries.

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The IGAD region is rich in livestock resources, which is the major source of livelihood for millions of agro-pastoralists and pastoralists. The demand for livestock and livestock products in the region, in Africa and in the Middle East is high and raising. In 2014, the region exported 10 millions of live animals to Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The main bottle neck for the livestock sector in the IGAD region , among others, are limited knowledge on requirements from importing countries,  capacity to meet SPS/market compliance, in-consistent marketable product supply, limited value addition, inadequate market promotion and linkage, trans-boundary Animal diseases and limited information sharing and networking among the actors. These constraints are affecting competitiveness in the markets thereby market share.

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