Somalia, a country that has not had a stable government for over two decades, exports more than double the livestock more economically and politically stable neighbors Ethiopia and Kenya do annually.
According to data from Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Somalia exported a record 5 million livestock in 2014, while Ethiopia exported 1.9 million and Kenya only managed 200,000.
“Basically they (Somalia) have privatized the sector and there is very little government involvement in it. They are also getting external donors like the EU that have built abattoirs and trained veterinary officers,” Bill Wahome, CEO Williamson Fresh, told AFKInsider on the sidelines of a Livestock stakeholders round-table event held in Nairobi on Tuesday .
Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy, contributing 40 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Every year, Millions of animals are exported through the ports of Berbera in Somaliland and Bossaso in Puntland to the Gulf of Arabia.
Sector is currently the largest contributor to the horn of Africa nation’s economy with over 65 percent of the population engaged in the industry in some way.
Heavy investment in animal disease prevention backed by the European Union and the United Kingdom has helped the country become more competitive on the international market.
Kenya, the region’s largest economy, has no livestock development policies, has invested very little in the sector and has no proper organization.
According to Dubat Ali, chairman of Kenya Livestock Marketing Council, the east African nation has not invested enough in the livestock sector and this explains why Ethiopia and Somalia earn more than it.
Ethiopia has invested in research institutions and provided tax and land incentives that have greatly boosted the livestock farmers and investors.
“Lack of key facilities such as a loading ramp at the Port of Mombasa has pushed pastoralists to take their livestock to Moyale and then to Ethiopia from where they are exported to the Middle East,” Ali said.