Kenya - Rewards from twisted roles: A case study of revitalized livestock marketing in Samburu

SNV partnering with local actors within the livestock sector has facilitated the establishment of commercial partnerships between pastoralist communities and County councils. These partnerships have reduced inefficiencies along the value chain leading to the reconfiguration of the profits margins in favour of the Pastoralist producer groups.

In Kenya, the livestock sub-sector accounts for approximately 10% of National GDP and 30% of agricultural GDP. It employs about 90% of the ASAL workforce. Approximately 95% of Arid and Semi Arid Land households’ income is derived from this sub sector. Kenyan livestock sector is dominated by small producers. Pastoralists have always relied on livestock as their most important source of livelihood. Besides providing food directly in form of meat and milk, they are also able to trade to meet urgent cash needs such as school fees and staple foods. Until around 1983, the Government controlled livestock marketing from the ASAL region through the Government livestock marketing division. This ensured the pastoralists to get competitive prices. However the collapse of this marketing channel led to acute inefficiencies in the value chain leading to high transaction costs, unstable markets and low prices. These high transaction costs emanate from the lengthy channels of trade (high numbers of middle men) necessitated by the long distances to markets. The high transactions cost reduces margins for producers. The long distances involved in trekking animals to the market, lead to livestock mortalities, reduces animal/carcass value and exorbitant charges en-route, high transport cost, and loss through theft of stock. Besides limited education and knowledge of national language amongst producers limits their effective participation (especially for women and youth) and a hindrance to maximizing profits.

In an attempt to deal with these challenges, SNV in partnership with Samburu Integrated Development Programme (SIDEP), Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC) and Samburu County Council (SCC) explored the potentials of interior (primary) markets as a business model to address these challenges. 2007-2008 Interior livestock markets are business arrangements that bring producers, traders, local councils, Community representatives and business services providers together in a trade arrangement that addresses the challenges highlighted above. These markets are established within areas with wider catchments, close proximity to producer levels where individual producers can walk in, sell their animals, buy food and other input supplies conveniently and at competitive prices. The convenience and ease of trade has made it possible for small producers, women and youth to effectively participate in the market activities and actually trade. These markets are governed and managed within an arrangement called the co management. The local council which is responsible for market infrastructure and collecting revenue by law, has co-opted the local community to over see market activities and handle all trade relationships and share revenue on a 50-50 agreement.

Year of publication: 
UNDP Capacity is Development knowledge fair
Themes and sectors: 
Agriculture, fisheries, and food security

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