Investment Opportunities for Livestock in the North Eastern Province of Kenya: A Synthesis of Existing Knowledge

Pastoralism is the dominant livelihood activity in the North Eastern Province (NEP) of Kenya. It is supplemented only by a limited amount of agriculture along the rivers. The province faces various developmental challenges including chronic poverty and food insecurity, low human capital and poor health standards, high vulnerability to climate change, poor infrastructure, insecurity and low crop and livestock productivity. This study synthesises existing knowledge and provides recommendations on livestock investments to increase incomes, create employment and reduce food insecurity in the province. It examines investment opportunities in livestock and presents scenarios that meet the objectives of Kenya’s 2030 vision. Four scenarios are analysed. The first scenario consists of the business-as-usual case: a vision of the state of the livestock sector, and its contribution to NEP and national economy, if the current trajectory is maintained. The second scenario outlines a strategy that focuses on catering to domestic demand for livestock products. The third scenario focuses on feeding foreign demand for live animals, while the fourth scenario investigates the possibilities of a livestock sector driven by exports of processed livestock products. Also in these investment scenarios, the broad-based growth contribution to the economy is discussed. The analysis indicates that all three alternative scenarios have far better impacts on pastoralists’ income and employment than the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. The second scenario is found to have the largest favourable impact. Besides creating jobs and income opportunities, it provides alternatives to meet the growing livestock product consumption spurred by population increase, rising incomes and urbanization in Kenya. However, there are several requirements for this scenario to work and yield the desired impact. The need for creating a favourable investment climate is discussed and specific roles of the public and private sectors are explained.