Across Africa, livestock sector provides a large proportion of agricultural value added, almost one third and in some countries more than one-half. Close to two third of the value of edible livestock products is generated by cattle (meat and milk), sheep and goats (meat and milk) and poultry (meat and eggs) contribute about quarter each.
Mandera County is one of the 47 counties in Kenya, located in the North Eastern part of Kenya and borders Ethiopia to the North, Somalia Republic to the East and Wajir County to the South. It is approximated to be about 1,100km from the capital city of Nairobi by road. The county has an approximate population of 1,025,756 and covers an area of 25,991.5 km. The County Administratively is subdivided into six Sub Counties namely Mandera West, Mandera South, Banisa, Mandera North, Mandera East and Lafey and 30 administrative wards.
Population distribution by livelihood zones is as follows; pastoral economy zone in the east and the central corridor, agro pastoral economy zone in the west and irrigated cropping zone in the north along the Daua River.
Nomadic pastoralism is the major economic activity in this county with camels, goats, sheep and cattle being the main type of livestock reared here. The regions vast pasture lands have allowed this activity to be viable though much more could be done to ensure the county plays its role in the country’s beef and milk production markets.
The livestock kept in this county is a proof of its richness. Investors need to take invest their resources in the many open opportunities available in the county. A meat a milk processing plant is a sure investment area that can be counted on. This is because the milk production and processing business have become key entrepreneurial areas in the country. There are a number of products that come along with milk and meat processing.
With proper development, marketing and distribution of the processed products brings in a lot of after profits to the investors. Pastoralists in Mandera county need to be equipped with modern livestock keeping methods, so that they embrace the practice more. This is another investment opportunity, as putting up a training center will be beneficial. After these people have been enlightened in the modern livestock keeping techniques, the production rate will increase, thus opening up more market for both the community and the investors.
Meat and dairy products, especially fresh milk, butter and cheese are the major livestock products that concern those who are interested in livestock development in Kenya, and Africa in general. Such livestock development efforts must squarely depend on the development of both the production and the marketing systems, which are needed in Mandera county.
Article by Vera Shawiza.