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The East African : Apr 22nd 2017
26 OUTLOOK The EastAfrican APRIL 22-28,2017 DEVELOPMENT Farmers cash in on high appetite for donkey meat China is now ta≥geting Kenya and South Af≥ica as majo≥ supplie≥s By TOM MATOKE Special Correspondent T he price of donkeys in Kenya has doubled following the legalisation of trade in and consumption of donkey meat. Before donkey meat consumption was legalised in 2012, the prices for the draught animals has risen steadily, driven by market outlets like abattoirs that are licensed to slaughter and export donkey meat. There is increased demand for donkey meat in China, and two specialised abattoirs one each in Baringo and Nakuru Counties, have been built. “Before the government licensed the two abattoir to slaughter and export the donkey meat, the traders and farmers used to sell animals at Ksh6,000 ($60) each but they are now fetching more than Ksh20,000 ($200), each” said Richard Kiptoo, a donkey trader. A new business opportunity has emerged with traders buying donkeys from farmers in Kajiado, Naivasha and Turkana for sale to the abattoirs. The trade has also elicited interest in Tanzania, where some farmers have reported theft of donkeys that they believe are being smuggled to Kenya. Mike Baker, chief executive officer of the Donkey Sanctuary, said the high demand for donkey meat had led to increased poaching. Brooke East African, an association that deals with the welfare of donkeys, reports that donkey theft has increased since the business to export donkey meat picked up in Kenya. Cases of theft of donkeys have increased in various parts of the country with the association saying about 170 and 140 donkeys were stolen in Kajiado and Nakuru Counties respectively last year. Before trade in donkey meat was legalised in Kenya in 2012, unscrupulous traders at popular meat eateries around Nairobi would routinely fend off claims that they were dealing in the commodity. Farmers in places like Naivasha and Limuru would wake up to find their beasts of burden missing only for skeletons to be found in bushes long after the steak had been taken to unmarked outlets. Now, some butcheries list donkey meat on their menu. According to the Kenya Meat Control Amendment Act of 2012, meat from donkeys and horses is listed as fit for human consumption STANDARDS Donkey meat meant for export must meet World Health Organisation standards including being free of foot and mouth diseases. Donkey skins must also be harvested from recognized abattoirs. There are about 40 million donkeys in the world with Ethiopia and Mexico also having high populations of donkeys mainly for transport. Kenya has a population of about 2 million donkeys. SMEs want enough space at leathe≥ pa≥k By MARYANNE GICOBI The EastAfrican SMALL SCALE players in the leather industry have expressed fears that Ngozi Leather Park — a 500-acre piece of land set aside by government to boost production — will not be enough to accommodate them. The SMEs are concerned that the space allocated to them is inadequate and those left to operate outside the park will suffer industry disruption. Leather Articles Entrepreneurs As- A donkey slaughterhouse in Mogotio, Baringo County Picture: File despite it being a taboo in most Kenya communities to eat donkey meat. Only a few communities in the north of the country traditionally ate donkey meat. Health and veterinary experts say the certification followed a study that found the meat was not harmful to human health. However, most of the meat is slaughtered and exported to China and Vietnam, where it is believed to have medicinal attributes against cancer, insomnia and clogged blood vessels. China is now targeting Kenya and South Africa as potential suppliers of the commodity after Niger and Burkina Faso, who were its main suppliers, banned exports. The countries were concerned that indiscriminate slaughter of donkeys was hurting transport of goods, mostly in remote regions. Last year, Egypt increased export of donkey meat to China after the two countries signed an exports deal. The Kenyan government has supported construction of abattoirs in Naivasha and Mogotio towns in Nakuru and Baringo counties respectively where donkey meat will be packaged for export. The Baringo abattoir, which was constructed at a cost of Ksh350 million ($3.5 million) processes about 100 donkeys a day whereas the Naivasha one targets 150 donkeys a day. Livestock Principal Secretary Andrew Tuimur said farmers were now being sensitised to the donkey economy, including proper husbandry. “The setting up of abattoirs should set a precedent to farmers to venture into this business. I encourage farmers start their own breeding farms for export and tocreate wealth,” Dr Tuimur said. Post-ha≥vest handling tech displayed at exhibition By MORARA KEBASO Special Correspondent Innovators at the just concluded All Africa Post Harvest Congress & Exhibition in Nairobi exuded confidence that affordable technologies are now available to reduce post-harvest losses. From coolers, mobile dryers, mobile phone ap- plication solutions to aflatoxin testing kits and workshops, innovators said farmers now have various options to choose from to deal with postharvest challenges. However, the $500,000 grant award that Prof Ben Bennett — deputy director in charge of International trade and marketing economics at the Natural Resources Institute based at the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom — received was the highlight of last week’s exhibition. Prof Bennett described a “built-in curing technology” for cassava preservation as the “most promising solution” because of its capability of cutting current 40 per cent post harvest losses by half. The technology led over 50 innovations that were exhibited at the Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi where food experts and policymakers converged to find solutions to rampant food losses at several stages in value chains. The technology, he said, will boost the crop’s growing global economic importance. Besides being a food crop, the starch extracted as a biproduct from cassava is sought after by many industries. “This will help us to cut up to 50 per cent loss- es associated with cassava” Prof Bennett said. “You recreate similar conditions as those in the soil, which cassava roots enjoy. You pull it out of the ground, harvest; sort out the bad ones; make a pile, make it moist, cover it, then leave it for two days to cure. Most root crops can be cured this way to extend their shelf life,” Prof Bennett added. Cassava specialist at the International In- The built-in curing technology will keep cassava fresh for at least eight days or at most two weeks past its harvest time.” Prof Ben Bennett stitute of Tropical Agriculture Dr Richardson Okechukwu said there are many technologies out there that can increase refrigeration, but not many poor people can afford because the of lack of electricity. “But this new technology will help us sort spoilage of millions of tons of cassava in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. When operational, it will be affordable to many,” he added. Leather products displayed at the Nairobi Innovation Week. Picture: File sociation chairman Maurice Omondi said there is a need for the consultations between stakeholders, Industrialisation Ministry and the Kenya Leather Development Council to ensure that small and medium enterprises are all accommodated at the Ngozi leather park. Kenya, through the EPZA, will in- vest about $70 million in the leather industrial park, which will have a common tannery effluent pre-treatment plant, serviced plots, electricity and roads. According to the World Bank, the tanning sector’s major difficulty is the lack of effluent facilities, which increases the environmental and health costs associated with processing finished leather. A number of benefits The SME park is based on the ex- port processing zone model that offers investors a number of benefits including a 10-year tax holiday on remittances to non-residents, stamp duty, import duty and VAT exemption on raw materials and machinery. The leather footwear from EPZs is allowed full access to the Kenyan market duty and is VAT-free. The Kenyan leather industry has been battling a myriad challenges, among them low-cost leather footwear imports mainly from China and India and second-hand footwear, high production costs, the high cost of waste management amounting to $40 million and poor quality of finished leather products.
Apr 15th 2017