EVENT: PRISE leads debate and policy influence at the Regional Dialogue for Livestock Value Chain Transformation across the Sahel and Horn of Africa

PRISE researchers shared key research findings with policy and decision makers from West and East Africa at an Africa Regional Dialogue on Livestock Value Chain Transformation event held in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 12.

The Africa Regional Dialogue on Livestock Value Chain Transformation between the Sahel and the Horn of Africa network is a group of key policy and decision makers, led by the PRISE consortium, with the collective aim of sharing knowledge and experiences to strengthen the resilience of livestock systems. It includes PRISE research teams from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Innovations Environnement Développement en Afrique and Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), and external stakeholders including the Governments of Senegal, Kenya and Burkina Faso, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Regional Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS), as well as representatives from the private sector.

The livestock sector and pastoralists are vital to the semi-arid lands of Kenya and Senegal. In Kenya alone, the livestock sector contributes to 14 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and employs about 50% of Kenya’s agricultural workforce.

At the event, PRISE research teams from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) shared evidence from PRISE Project 3 with policy and decision makers. Project 3 aims to identify opportunities for economic transformation and diversification in the semi-arid lands of PRISE countries, by integrating sectors rooted in semi-arid lands into national economies. Taking a three-step methodology – called Value Chain Analysis for Resilience in Drylands (VC-ARID) – it identifies climate risk, adaptation options and opportunities for private sector development in Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Ethiopia – specifically for the livestock and cotton sectors. The latest research findings from the project indicate that private sector actors along livestock value chains are diverse, ranging from private individuals, entrepreneurs, small-medium enterprises and larger actors.

Researchers also shared findings from PRISE Project 5, which focuses on ‘Property rights, investments and economic development in the context of climate change in semi-arid lands’, and explores the role of access to, and ownership of, land in reducing climate vulnerability and enhancing climate-resilient economic development in Kenya’s semi-arid lands. Kamau Kuria, Chief Executive Officer for Kenya Markets Trust (KMT), said at the event: “The livestock sector in Africa, especially the extensive livestock, has for a long time been mystified on its contribution to crucial sectors such as the economy…. Studies have been done and evidence has been gathered from several arenas on the livestock value chain. It is now time to focus and relate that to actions that can show transformative results.”

Abdikarim Daud, Livestock Sector Lead at KMT, said that in the meat value chain there is a disconnect between pastoralists who are the producers and the meat industry. “There is need for the meat industry to drive the production,” he said, observing that the industry depends on brokers. He added: “Brokers can only choose the best animal, without telling the producers what the market demand is. But if the industry was to deal [directly] with the producers, then it will be possible for the producers to know what to do, to satisfy the market demand.”

Dr Stephen Moiko, PRISE researcher at KMT agreed, saying that pastoralists usually produce for the market, but do not understand the market. “Pastoralists do not sell the best. Instead they sell weaker animals to get money to solve immediate social needs,” he added.

Dr James Gakuo, an entrepreneur who buys severely emaciated animals to fatten them through an intensive feeding programme, said that most pastoralists keep their animals to a point of emaciation – especially during severe droughts. “We have now created a market for emaciated animals, and therefore pastoralists should not wait until their animals die,” he said. Supporting PRISE evidence, he urged governments, NGOs and the private sector to invest in livestock fattening programmes for value addition as a way to help pastoralists adapt to climate change.

He added: “It is a pity when governments and NGOs decide to slaughter emaciated animals so as to give the meat to the poor as food aid. Here is a scenario where drought is already killing animals, and the government and NGOs are also killing more animals. Are we not going to decimate all the animals, which are the lifeline for the pastoralists?”

Using evidence from PRISE research, participants also discussed ways to build climate resilience in the livestock sub-sector throughout East and West Africa, and enable it to become a catalyst for sustainable, climate-resilient economic development, including: Pastoralist access to financial services, such as livestock insurance, credit, and grants; feed supply chains and processing; access to climate services and Early Warning Systems (EWS) and holistic land management.

Participants at the regional dialogue also attended a field visit to Kiserian abattoir, and Kajiado County pastoralism week.


Image 1: KMT CEO Kamau Kuria making opening remarks during the Africa dialogue on Livestock Value Chain Transformation. Photo by KMT

Image: Dr. Elizabeth Carabine, PRISE Co-Principal Investigator and Project 3 Lead, introducing VC-ARID. Photo by KMT

Main image: Maasai cows, by Matt Biddulph, Creative Commons License