Innovation Mission Kenya: Livestock & Alternative Proteins

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Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi

From 18-21 March the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi organised an Innovation Mission that revolved around livestock and alternative proteins. The mission identified challenges in the sector, but also generated inspiration and solutions.

A group consisting of representatives from Dutch companies, knowledge institutes, civil society organisations and government officials visited various organisation in Nairobi, Nakuru and Eldoret over the course of four days. The visited organisations ranged from the Kenyan State Department for Livestock and the Rift Valley Institute for Science and Technology to an insect farm (Fair & Sustainable) and agro-contracting service providers (Nondoroto Farms / Bles Dairies). The week ended with Round Table discussions and break-out sessions, organised by Lattice Consulting and Larive International, where the main challenges and corresponding challenges for the sector were discussed.

Ambitions & Solutions

During the trip 3 national ambitions clearly stood out:

  1. Improve the quality of livestock (products);

  2. Increase the quantity of livestock (products). Since domestic demand significantly exceeds supply;

  3. Produce at competitive prices (esp. For international markets).

The suggested pathways through which these ambitions could be reached are numerous, but the most prominent ones were:

  • Breeding. Making sure to have the right breeds in the right areas, particularly in the arid and semi-arid regions in Kenya;

  • Feed. Overcoming the feed balance deficiency and the high costs for production. For example, through liberal seed certification to get the best seeds for Feed & Fodder or through transparent price mechanisms. Or by looking at alternative proteins sources such as insects (larvae for chickens/pigs and organic fertiliser for silage production);

  • Disease Control. Not only to improve quality and quantity, but also to adhere to international market standards;

  • Quality-based pricing. Focusing on fat and protein contents rather than sheer volume;

  • Food Safety. The need for ensuring the safety of livestock products provides opportunity for a Coalition for Safe Milk;

  • Youth Involvement. The average age of dairy farmer in Kenya is currently estimated at 60(!). So similar to other sectors, influx of young, entrerpreneurial farmers is crucial for the sustainability of the sector. One example of doing this was through gamification in educational curricula: the Kucheza game teaches students in an appealing way the intricacies of being a succesful dairy farmer.

  • Sector organisation. In comparison to other sectors in Kenya (e.g. horticulture or floraculture) the level of organisation in the livestock sector is low, opening up calls for increased sector transparency and integration.

Room for Innovation?

So there seems to be ample room for ‘innovation’ in the livestock sector. But what should ‘innovation’ focus on? And what kind of innovation are we talking about? Because there seem to already be numerous best practices and technologies to pursue the solutions above also seem to be avaliable in Kenya, the Netherlands or internationally. Perhaps a representative of Biofoods summarised it best: “the innovation is not so much in generating new knowledge, but how we collaborate to get the knowledge available applied at the places where it matters most. To get a system or infrastructure in place”.

Get inspired!

Do you want to know more about innovations in livestock and dairy in Kenya? The Kenya Market-led Dairy Project is a nice example and definitely make sure to check out the work of the NEADAP partnership and read the NEADAP Magazine!


Agriprofocus by Masha Bakker 6045 min

Ibrahim Palaz

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