Transformation of meat agency to power Big Four Agenda
The dramatic facelift and injection of efficiency into the hitherto lackluster Kenya Meat Commission has come as a huge surprise to Kenyans. Following the transfer of KMC from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Ministry of Defense in September 2020, the State firm is once again on its way to profitability in a reflection of prudent management by the KDF.
From a slaughter capacity of just 200 animals a week, the refurbished KMC now boasts daily slaughter capacity of 1,250 large animals and 2,000 small stock; an important milestone considering that over half of the country’s population depends on the livestock sector for its livelihood.
Even more heartening is the fact that KMC will now pay farmers within three days upon supplying the livestock to the facility. This is a huge departure from the past where farmers would be held waiting for compensation up to four years after delivering their livestock to the facility.
The new productivity of KMC has been attributed to the astute management practices by the KDF; and is slated to inspire confidence in a sector that was fast hurtling to oblivion. Livestock farmers in northern Kenya have for instance gone through loops of agony as they watch their animals waste away in droughts and sending many families into poverty.
If the country had a functional meat value chain, such farmers would sell off their animals during such adverse climate conditions and restock when conditions get better. With a more functional KMC, the dream of many farmers to get value for their animals could begin to bear fruits. To fulfill this dream, the state firm needs to install additional abattoirs in different regions of the country. The move will not only increase access to meat and meat products by Kenyans; it will also create additional employment opportunities for Kenyans at different stages.
Besides the meat value chain, Kenya has potential to diversify into other products and industries such as the tannery. Prompt payment of farmers would boost demand and investment in animal production. This would in turn lead to more hides that can power the tannery sector and boost local manufacturing. The KMC therefore sits at an enviable junction of propelling the governments Big Four Agenda through food security, manufacturing and ultimately rural and urban lives transformation.
Although the transfer of the KMC to KDF has been contested in court, the moves’ benefits are increasingly crystal clear. Many employees of the state firm who were staring at joblessness can now breathe a sigh of relief with the renewed vigor at KMC.
Within a very short time, the KDF have demonstrated that is possible to transform Kenya’s productive engines for better lives and service delivery. The KDF have also left lasting impressions in modernizing the country’s railway sector through track rehabilitation. The Kenya Railways Corporation have since introduced animal transport wagons, in another indication of the interdependence of the sectors, under sound management.
The KDF have proven that it is possible to inject impetus into the flailing state organs for better delivery. In an environment of honest pursuit of set objectives, Kenya’s socio-economic potential can be attained. This is a lesson that sister firms and other state agencies can learn from the KDF and engineer sector-specific transformation initiatives for the benefit of the country, and not a clique of individuals.