A section of livestock farmers from Garissa have welcomed president Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to handover operations of the cash-strapped Kenya Meat Commission (KMC) to the department of defense.
In a notice dated Monday September 7, 2020 Ministry of Agriculture CS Peter Munya directed KMC managing commissioner James Ole Seriani to oversee the transfer of duties of KMC to the Department of Defense (DOD).
“Following the transfer of ministerial responsibility of the KMC to the Ministry of defense by the President, you are directed to facilitate a seamless transfer of KMC to Defense,” Munya directed.
“Ensure that you coordinate the entire exercise with the National Treasury and transfer the associated budgets at the next scheduled supplementary Budget. You are required to submit a fortnight report to my office on the progress made,” the CS added.
Addressing the press Friday on behalf of the farmers, the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chair Dubat Amey said that it’s not for the mere reason that the military are the biggest customer of the factory’s meat but that ‘it will improve the management and make it profitable’.
“One of the reasons why the factory was always facing liquidity challenges is due to non-payment or delayed payment by creditors and the Ministry of Defense is one such creditor. If the government ministries and departments supplied by the abattoir do not pay adequately, then the challenges of liquidity will continue irrespective of the new management put in place,” he said.
Amey said that the facility faces a myriad of challenges compared to private abattoirs that are in the same filed.
He said the machines at the facility are ‘old, outdated and thereby not efficient and they also consume a lot of power’.
Amey said that the modernization of KMC had started but seems to be taking forever, adding that ‘the abattoir has to be modernized completely for it to survive in the meat industry.’
He regretted that the reopening of the abattoir in 2006 ‘was as a result of pastoralist outcry for lack of market for their livestock especially during drought seasons.
The chairman said that the factory ‘is the buyer of last resort for pastoralists’ animals, although it has never effectively played this role.’
He said that since its reopening, KMC has been ‘marred by mismanagement occasioned by micro-management and politics from the line ministry leading to losses and wastage of tax payers’ money’.
“The Kenyan farmers who were to be the beneficiary of the plant never enjoyed the promise given by the government. The suppliers have been impoverished due to delayed payment since most payments take as long as six (6) months or more,” he noted.
Amey said that for Ministry of Agriculture to replace the managing commissioners after a short stint, it was only ‘firefighting”.
“We are appealing to the President and Ministry of Defense to ensure that the abattoir will benefit all the customers irrespective of the number of animals they supply and number of kilos of meat they purchase from the abattoir,” Amey said.