A pre-feasibility study by the World Bank says Laikipia can be a centre for beef production if pastoralists embrace feedlots technology.
Among its key findings is that Laikipia County is in a region whose natural vegetation and other characteristics of the region present favourable opportunities to intensify and leverage on livestock production to prosper. The many permanent and seasonal rivers like Ewaso Narok river as well as groundwater aquifers qualifies the county as ideal to become a feedlots farming hub.
The department of agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries presented the report titled: Laikipia Integrated Feedlot Scheme to stakeholders at forum held at the County Governors hall on 31st October 2018.
The purpose of the study was to assess the prospects for optimising Laikipias animal production capability to be better aligned with market opportunities locally and internationally, and to stimulate the development of advanced processing capabilities in the countys red meat sector.
The report, mainly premised on a situational analysis of feedlots in the county with specific attention on challenges and weaknesses of the technology in order to come up with a strategy that improves the capability of the county to sustainably and reliably produce livestock in terms of volume, price and quality.
The study established that Kenya at one time through Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) used to export veal, goal meat and mutton to the UAE in the year 2012/2013.
However, the exports were halted on the bases of poor governance at the state-run abattoir and processing plants. This crippled the farmers who had invested their resources in livestock sector.
Until now, the reported noted, there exist no structures required to develop a sustainable export channel for red meat from Kenya.
Deputy Governor John Mwaniki said the county government in partnership with the national government and other interested counties will redefine new rules in the industry and lobby to have the closed markets in UAE re-opened.
Agriculture CECM Dr. Lucy Murugi assured stakeholders that the county government was upgrading slaughter houses across the county to help promote feedlot farming.
The county government has been assisting farmers access veterinary services in order to have improved breeds of cattle to increase export opportunities.
Hon. Simon Kanyutu of Marmanet ward assured livestock farmers who included ranchers, small and medium farmers and also livestock traders that County Assembly in partnership with Executive will allocate enough funds in support of feedlot farming, capacity building to farmers, water sourcing, market finding and even in capital sourcing through banks partnership and County Enterprise Fund.