Government moves to boost export of animal products
The Government will establish five disease free zones for the purpose of breeding animals meant for export, Livestock Development Minister Mohamed Kuti has said. The minister said the Government had identified creation of disease free zones as a way of beating the stringent conditions set by international markets against export of local livestock products.
Livestock Development Minister Kuti: We are certain
Dr Kuti said the first such zone at the Coast is already in its initial stages of implementation and some animals have been moved in to the area. This move, if successful, will get rid of the "diseased country" tag on Kenya by the European market thus denying it revenues from exportation of local livestock products. Kuti said his ministry is keen on seeing the 1992 ban lifted. Addressing pastoralists who have relocated their animals to Mt Kenya Forest in search of water and pasture, the minister said: "This year alone 9,000 heads of cattle and 25,000 goats have been exported to Mauritius earning farmers Sh250 million. The programme will continue and we are certain we will attract other richmarkets". Kuti said after the establishment of the Coast zone the next will be the Laikipia/Isiolo Complex to serve the large pastoralist community in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu and other parts of northern Kenya. Infiltrated venture The minister said the two zones would have cost an estimated Sh3 billion upon completion. On the ongoing animal off-take programme, Kuti urged pastoralists not to sell their animals to brokers who have infiltrated the new venture. He said the brokers are rushing to buy animals at throwaway prices from desperate pastoralists only to sell them to the Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) at the Sh8,000 Government is offering. "We have heard that some of you are selling animals to these brokers for as little as Sh1,000, leaving them to enjoy Sh7,000 after selling the same to KMC. We would advise you to be patient and wait for the off-take officials so you enjoy maximum benefits," he advised the pastoralists. Livestock Ministry PS Ken Lusaka and Kieni MP Nemesyus Warugongo accompanied the minister.
^^this is where i am stakeholder and i love it:cheers:
The government has injected Sh300 million into the Kenya Tea Board (KTB) to be used for tea research and marketing, a minister has said.
Agriculture minister William Ruto said on Monday that the board will carry out the twin duties both locally and internationally in a bid to improve sales and prices of the farm produce.
Speaking in Konoin, Rift Valley Province, the minister said that the money injected into KTB was part of the government’s efforts to improve payments to small scale tea farmers which have for many years remained low.
Mr Ruto expressed concern over the poor management of the Kenya Tea Development Agency managed factories adding that the agency needed to embrace change if it was to continue running the factories on behalf of farmers.
The minister said he would welcome any meaningful amendments to the tea sector that would help weed out the many unnecessary management levels between the tea grower and seller in the world market.
This, he noted, was eating into the profit margins of the tea farmer.
The minister’s comments come after a row broke out between tea savings and credit cooperative societies (Saccos) and KTDA over the latter’s registration of its own micro-finance firm.
Saccos are protesting that Greenland Fedha Ltd will duplicate their services, cripple their operations and eventually toss them out of business.
Following the registration, there are fears that farmers will troop away to the new outfit, which does not require any fund deposits for one to access loans. This is unlike Saccos where credit is given against a member’s savings.
But despite this, Kenyan tea prices have over the past few weeks hit their highest levels in more than a decade at the auction thanks to good quality and tight world supply, brokers said.
The average price for Best BP1s hit $4.03 per kilogramme, up from a previous high of $3.97 reached in August.
A 600 acre plot acquired by the Coast Development Authority in Mwananyamala, Kwale district for a citrus fruit plantation has been invaded by squatters.
The Authority managing director Nesbert Mangale said only half of the land which was allocated for the project by the government has now been left for the plantation and a planned fruit processing plant.
This has however not discouraged the authority from carrying on with the project.
''But we have also encouraged the squatters and the community around the area to go into planting citrus trees to benefit from a ready market once the plant is built and starts operating,'' he said.
“Kwale district is one of the areas best suited for citrus trees but farmers have been getting a raw deal due to lack of a steady market forcing them to sell the fruits to middlemen at measly prices.
“The project is expected to cost about Sh32million and may take between six to eight months to be completed and operational,” Dr Mangale said in an interview.
The MD was speaking as councillors from the Kwale county council took issue with the authority for not initiating any project in the area. The councillors’ complaints were contained in a memorandum presented to three members of parliament from the area.
But speaking to the nation in his office in Mombasa Dr Mangale said Kwale had the lion’s share of the projects that the authority was initiating adding that 250 acres will soon be put under rice cultivation in Vanga.
This follows a successful Sh8million wall built in Vanga to direct the waters of Umba River in the area for a rice scheme to benefit about 1, 000 households.
“The project is about 95 percent complete and is expected to increase rice production in the area. A private investor, motivated by the scheme has installed a rice milling machine which will help the local farmers in finding a ready market for the produce.
“The residents will also benefit from rice seeds that have been developed after a series of studies to get the best seeds suited for the area,” he said.
In its strategic plan for 2008 to 2012, the CDA requires about Sh10billion to enable the authority carry out its mandate of initiating and implementing projects in the region.
Among the projects earmarked include the Sh3.5billion Mwache Dam multi-purpose, an integrated project that will utilize the waters of Mwache River in Kinango district for irrigation, fish farming and power generation.
Dr Mangale said the project has been approved by the cabinet and will soon be taken to parliament for debate.
“We are happy because the project which is expected to be funded through private public partnership has received a lot of interest from international investors who want to put in money,” he said.
Sugar board allows second cane factory in South Nyanza
By Nicholas Anyuor
It is sweet news for cane farmers after the Kenya Sugar Board allowed a private investor to establish a second factory in South Nyanza.
Board Chairman Okoth Obado said they had allowed Sukari Industries to put up a multi-billion shilling sugar mill in Ndhiwa District.
The new factory, he said, would ease pressure on the South Nyanza Sugar Company (Sony) Ltd.
He said the factory will occupy some 250 acres of Homa Bay County Council land in Kanyikela location, and would help cane farmers who have had to ferry their produce to Sony, which is several kilometres away. But some local leaders opposed the move, saying residents had not been consulted on possible negative impact of the miller.
Those opposed to the factory want construction plans suspended until all interested parties are briefed and those living around the site compensated.
Nyanza ODM Co-ordinator Monica Amollo is among those opposed to the move and has accused the Kenya Sugar Board and some local leaders of imposing the project on residents.
But Mr Obado, local MP Orwa Ojodeh and some local leaders say the project was a ‘god send’ and must be implemented.
Mr Dennis Orero, a local leader, said the factory would not only create employment and improve infrastructure, but would also save cane farmers the agony of taking their produce to Sony.
Councillor Dorcas Matunga said those opposed to the project were bitter after losing the 2007 parliamentary elections. "It is political. These are the people who do not want Mr Ojodeh. They see this as an achievement for him," she said.
Last weekend, a fight broke out during the burial of Councillor Lawrence Ojwang’ after a group of councillors accused Ms Amollo of writing an opposing letter to the investors.
When contacted, Amollo accepted writing to Kenya Sugar Board and the investor to stop the construction of the factory.
"I want to know why they plan to establish the factory without a feasibility study first," she said.
Government creates disease-free zones for livestock
Although the country’s livestock sector is not well developed, it has the potential to generate jobs and foreign exchange earnings, reducing poverty in the process.
The sector’s potential is captured in various Government documents including the Economic Recovery Strategy, the Strategy for Revitalising Agriculture and Vision 2030.
In these documents, Agriculture and Livestock are listed as key drivers to deliver the 10 per cent economic growth rate.
To harness this potential, the Government is establishing disease-free zones across the country for the purpose of breeding animals meant for the export market.
Livestock Development Minister Mohamed Kuti said the Government is creating disease-free zones as a way of beating the stringent conditions set by international markets against export of local livestock products.
The first such zones, he said last week, at the Coast is already in its initial stages of implementation and some animals have been moved into the area.
This move, if successful, will get rid of the "diseased country" tag on Kenya by the European market, which denies revenue from exportation of local livestock products.
It is estimated that this year alone 9,000 head of cattle and 25,000 goats have been exported to Mauritius earning livestock farmers Sh250 million.
Kuti said after the establishment of the Coast zone, the ministry would be setting up more zones in Laikipia/Isiolo Complex.
This zone is expected to serve the pastoralist community in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu and other parts of northern Kenya.
By John Oyuke Despite its immense potential, the local livestock sector continues to be hampered by diseases, pests, inadequate technical manpower and adverse weather conditions. The situation is especially acute in Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs), which is estimated to hold 75 per cent of the livestock population. A change in fortunes is, however, expected following the infusion by European Commission (EC) of Sh414 million in a major intervention to boost livestock production. Enhance food security The funds, which will be channelled through Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will help farmers deal with challenges that stalk livestock and help vulnerable households deal with high cereal prices, conflicts over grazing land and a decline in livestock prices, which has exacerbated food insecurity.
The face of livestock sector is set to change with EU funding a project that addresses the many challenges in the industry. Photo: File/Standard
FAO Country Representative, Castro Camarada said as a result of the drought, people in ASALs, have particularly been hit by the food crisis. "These are facts that have led to the development of this enhanced food facility project," he said. Under the project, livestock keepers will be helped to boost fodder production, animal health, livestock and livestock product marketing and dairy production. Livestock Development Minister, Dr Mohammed Kuti said the FAO-driven facility forms a basis on which full-scale Government project to develop the sector can be established. Grazing land He said although livestock sector is not well developed, it has the potential to generate employment, foreign exchange earnings and reduce poverty if well harnessed. Under the project’s fodder production component, the facility aims to both raise incomes as well as sustainability of livelihoods. This focus stems from the fact that in the pastoral societies, dry season grazing areas are often vast distances from the main household. By focusing on fodder production along three of the most important rivers in ASALs, the project ensures that feed is available for a core-milking herd that can support families. Fodder will also sustain an important source of income, substituting the need to sell livestock in order to purchase staple cereals such as maize or sorghum. The health component provides support to boost production of livestock products while livestock-marketing seeks to boost farmers’ access to markets for their products. These set of goals would be achieved through improvement of infrastructure at key markets that serve as filters for animals entering the formal system and building capacity of community groups to engage in livestock keeping marketing processes.
Food organisation adds Sh31 million to fish farming kitty
The fish pond farming kitty of Sh1.2 billion has received an additional Sh31 million boost from Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The funds will go towards helping farmers in Yala in Siaya, Luanda in Emuhaya and Lurambi in central Kakamega Districts to construct and stock fish ponds, said FAO’s representative to Kenya, Dr Castro Camarada.
He added that the organisation was promoting fish pond farming to help the country address the food crisis, following a drastic drop in maize production due to poor weather.
Speaking during a farmers field day held in Lurambi, Dr Camarada said Kenyans need to adopt modern farming technology and diversify farming practices. He said that after helping to introduce palm oil in western Kenya, FAO will also help the country acquire new technology from other countries to develop fish pond farming.
Western Kenya assistant director for Fisheries, Mr Michael Oballa, said the government has set aside Sh1.2 billion in current financial year to construct ponds in 140 constituencies.
He added that the activities under the aqua culture stimulus programme and Lurambi constituency have been allocated Sh700 million for the project.
Mr Oballa said 10 young men will be hired to construct a pond costing Sh25,000, to help ease unemployment in the area and 200 fishponds are expected to be constructed in Lurambi Constituency.
The Fisheries official added that the Government has embarked on fish pond production, following a drastic drop in fish resources from Lake Victoria.
He urged farmers in Lurambi constituency to form a company and start manufacturing fish feed, as demand for the products are going to increase because of fishpond farming.
He said Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania had directed a committee of experts to come up with a solution on how to address the downward trend of fish production in Lake Victoria.
Sugar cane farmers will retain only 49 per cent stake in the sugar millers instead of the 51 per cent they are demanding for, the Privatisation Commission has revealed.
The Commission has also said the five sugar millers will be auctioned through strategic investors.
The Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Solomon Kitungu and Chairman Peter Kimuyu said the process would take 11 months and not 14 as had earlier been planned.
They had previously said the privatisation of the sugar millers would take 14 months.
Presenting the status report on the five sugar factories earmarked for privatisation last week, Kitungu said the period had been reduced to 2012 to beat the Comesa deadline.
"The move to reduce the timeframe was to enable the Commission beat the 2012 extended Comesa safeguard period," Kitungu said.
Comesa, a regional trading bloc, gave Kenya until 2012 to restructure the sugar industry, which is saddled with huge debts, to make it more competitive in the Comesa imports market niche when the safeguard period expires.
Last week, the Commission and Agriculture Minister William Ruto rejected demands by farmers to extend the Comesa deadline.
Former Webuye MP Joash Wamang’oli kicked off the debate, when he demanded that Kenya should not tie itself to the Comesa deadline if farmers are ill-prepared to procure majority stakes.
In response, Ruto said the Government had no choice but to respond to the Comesa regulations.
There is growing unease among sugar cane-growing regions on the mode of selling the millers with farmers and their leaders insisting they should be allowed to own a 51 per cent stake in the millers.
Write off debts
But the Commission said it would reserve only 49 per cent for farmers, saying it had developed modalities to ensure the process is insulated from abuse.
Kitungu disclosed that a 24 per cent shareholding would be reserved for farmers, while an additional 25 per cent shares will be held by the State on behalf of farmers.
"The Government will warehouse 25 per cent shares in case farmers fail to raise enough money. The shares will later be sold to farmers, while the rest of the shares will be for investors," Kitungu explained.
Ruto reiterated the Government will warehouse 25 per cent shares and a caveat put to ensure the shares are sold to no one else.
The Commission proposed that debts choking the sugar industry be written off or turned into equity to make the factories viable for auction and to attract more investors.
Ruto said the Government had promised to write off Sh20 billion out of the Sh47 billion owed to farmers and suppliers in the sugar industry.
He also said the privatisation would come with modernising the millers to double the current production capacities from 30,000 to 60,000 tonnes of cane per day.
By Athman Amran Iran has pledged to buy more Kenyan tea and help link exporters to other buyers in Central Asia. The new Iranian ambassador to Kenya Dr Seyyid Ali Sharifi Sadati called for increased trade relationships between the two countries, saying the West has often unfairly benefited from trade with Africa. "Iran is the second largest consumer of tea in the world and we get much of the tea from Sri Lanka and India. But for the past six months, 20 per cent market for our tea has been in Kenya," Sadati said. The envoy said Iran intends to expand relationship in other sectors for the benefit of the two countries and several Central Asian nations. "We have 15 neighbours and because most of them are landlocked, they depend on us," Sadati said. Agriculture is one of the most critical areas at the moment and Iran is expecting a visit by a Kenyan delegation soon, led by Agriculture minister William Ruto. An Iranian Transport Committee is also expected in the country soon for talks on stakes in Kenya ports, railways and roads. Sadati told The Standard on Sunday that Iran and Kenya have already signed 13 agreements, which include co-operation in the aviation industry, crude oil provision and dams construction. Other agreements focus on co-operation in scientific research, health and medicine. "When Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited Iran recently, 10 more bilateral agreements were signed between Kenya and Iran," Sadati said. "We can provide capabilities for Kenya and we do not emphasise on benefit. Kenya needs a lot of energy for development." The envoy said Iran is among world leaders in dam construction technology and has acquired nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. He said Iran is constructing the Tana River Dam and plans are under way to construct more dams. "For the past two decades Iran has constructed dams and has one of the biggest dams in the world."
Kenyan horticultural exporters are eyeing the Middle East in a bid to diversify from the traditional European market hit hard by global financial crisis.
The traders have already sought help in finding new markets in places like the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
"Some of our own customers are already in talks with outlets like Spinneys among others," an official of SkyCargo, the Emirates Airlines airfreight disclosed.
The supermarket retailer in the Middle East is involved in retail and marketing of consumer goods, most notably in the food sector, and its activities are spread throughout the seven emirates.
This is why it has not been affected by the harsh global economic conditions.
The Gulf Council comprises the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which signed a unified economic agreement in 1981.
The foray by exporters into new waters comes at a time when Emirates Group, the aviation and travel services provider in the Middle East is seeking to increase presence in the local horticulture export to fast track recovery in its cargo business.
A team from the Dubai-based group was recently in Nairobi. It held meetings with growers, fresh produce exporters and freight operators to emphasise the group’s ability to provide them efficient and cost-effective global connections.
Ram Menen, the Emirates’ divisional senior Vice President Cargo said Emirates SkyCargo is looking at ways it can work with the industry to access new markets.
He said the airline wants to fit in the supply chain of the fastest growing industry within the agricultural sector by helping exporters find new market opportunities.
"Emirates is committed to Kenya, we are serious about the market. We have excellent links in Dubai to a network of 100 cities around the globe," Menen observed.
He said several horticulture producers and exporters are ready to work with the airline.
Flower volumes this season have been adversely affected by lack of rain and declining margins from Kenya’s the EU market.
Last year, Emirates carried about 25,000 tonnes of exports and brought about 7,000 tonnes of imports including telecom equipments and automotive spare parts into the country.
About 18,664 tonnes of exports were transported between October, last year and September this year, which represented a 25 per cent drop.
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