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Livestock markets - a solution to food security in upper Eastern Kenya

06/09/2013 1:00 - 

Livestock markets are the main gateway to food security in upper Eastern Kenya. To address the challenges that communities in the pastoralist setting face, a public-private partnership - the Livestock Market Co-management Model - was set into motion where local authorities and market management committees agree to share responsibilities and revenues in the market.

The initiative, championed by FAO,  aims to promote ownership of livestock markets by the local communities they serve in order to improve effectiveness and sustainability.

“Livestock production remains the best way of utilizing the vast rangelands of Northern Kenya and research shows that pastoral production systems have very good returns on investment. Other than providing food and cash when sold, livestock also serves as an investment just like land or shares,” says Mr. Michael Ngutu, FAO field monitoring officer.

Livestock is closely linked to the social and cultural lives of several million pastoralists for whom animal ownership ensures varying degrees of sustainable farming and economic stability.  

In Marsabit, the Livestock Market Co-management Model has been implemented in Merille, Moyale, Sololo, Turbi, Korr, Illaut and Kalacha. “This model has benefited both local governments and communities through increased revenue, infrastructure development, reduced transaction costs, increased market participation, employment, stimulation of local economies and centralization of social welfare,” Ngutu explained during the Kalacha food and cultural festival.

In his presentation, Dr. Joseph Mathooko, FAO field monitoring officer, also demonstrated the use of EpiCollect, a mobile phone data collection technology that enables veterinary officers and other animal health practitioners to collect and transmit data on vaccinations and disease outbreaks using mobile phones. “This technology is very useful especially for the pastoralist region as it supports livestock markets, disease surveillance, and waterhole monitoring and gives real time field situations,” he underlined. 

The Kalacha food and cultural festival is an annual event held in Kalacha, in the outcasts of Marsabit town. The event celebrates the cultural and natural heritage of the people of Marsabit and Isiolo counties. It brings together pastoralists, fisher folk, hunter gatherer, metal artisans and agricultural communities of Eastern Kenya in order to promote cultural diversity, social harmony and sustainable development.

A diversity of the region’s rich cultural and natural heritage was showcased through artistic expressions, exhibitions of traditional foods, medicinal plants and demonstration of traditional technology. 

Submitted by: Emah Madegwa
FAO Office: FAOKE
Country: Kenya