ILRI researchers propose traceability system for Kenya’s smallholder pig value chain

A traceability system in the smallholder pig value chain in Kenya could help address challenges related to production, diseases, markets, pork safety and public health, according to a new study published by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Kenya does not have an operational livestock traceability system. Although a
few systems have been piloted, these have only focused on the beef value chain
and mostly in pastoralist areas. The smallholder pig value chain is suitable
for the implementation of a traceability system as farmers usually keep a few
pigs at a time and rely on a short marketing chain that is less complex.

study, published in Tropical Animal Health and Production (16 Sep 2019),
was based on a review of literature on pork traceability as well as on pig
production in Kenya, with a focus on smallholder pig systems in western Kenya.
Combined with the authors’ research experience in the region, the findings were
used to inform the design of a traceability system for the smallholder pig
value chain. 

identification of animals is important for traceability. However, the review
found that locally raised pigs were rarely identified. Farmers need to be made
aware of the importance of identifying animals and recording their movements
and how this can improve access to markets.

study explains how a traceability system could support the surveillance of two
important pig diseases in the region: African swine fever and porcine

effective traceability system could also enable the withdrawal of unsafe pork
from the market, thereby helping to ensure the quality and safety of pork sold
in local markets.

“Since meat inspection in the country has now been taken up by the county governments, we see traceability as an option that counties, in partnership with the private sector, could use to market themselves as producers of ‘safe and traceable’ pork”, the authors say. 

with organized systems like commercial producer and trader groups, the concept
can be piloted in the field to assess its practical application, paving the way
for a national traceability system in line with the guidelines of the World
Organisation for Animal Health. 

authors of the study note, however, that implementing traceability as a tool
towards improved animal health and food safety would require the participation
of all stakeholders in the value chain. Therefore, appropriate incentives would
need to be explored to ensure widespread adoption of the intervention.


Mutua, F., Lindahl, J. and Randolph, D. 2019. Possibilities of establishing a smallholder pig identification and traceability system in Kenya. Tropical Animal Health and Production.