KENYA will have to partner with its regional counterparts to collectively fight livestock diseases in order to secure the European Union export market.
The Principal Secretary, state department of livestock Khadijja Kasachoon said yesterday that Kenya which has a livestock population of over 60 million animals including sheep, goats, poultry and cows is having challenges exporting to the western countries and the EU due to perceived disease risks from the region.
"Trans boundary diseases continue to be a major problem and have curtailed export of our livestock products as barriers are being put up to control perceived diseases," said Kasachoon yesterday.
She was speaking during the EU and InterAfrican BUreau for Animal Resources open day that was held at the Africa Union offices in Nairobi yesterday. Kasachoon said the government has started the operation of disease free zones where animals are reared in controlled conditions to avert illnesses and produce quality meat and other products.
EU ambassador Lodewijk Briet said the union has stepped in to create value addition in the livestock chain and improve food security as well as market the products. So far, the EU said it has spent Sh15 billion over the years in a programme that successfully eradicated rinderpest and will focus on tsetse fly in the next phase of the programme.
"The European Union support has created a surveillance system...which gives early warning problems that could impact livestock such as the spread of Avian flu," said Briet.
The Economic Survey shows that production activities in licenced abattoirs in the country slowed down last year with the number of cattle slaughtered declining from 2194 to 2147 partly due to reduced activity within the state owned Kenya Meat Commission.