With value addition we refer to the enhancement of the value of the livestock to the famer. This enables the farmer to get better price from the market from each animal sold. It is important to note that majority of local farmers sell their cattle, goats, sheep and chicken in various open markets across the country to the middlemen according to size and estimate of weight of the item being sold and the quality of the animal or bird and its meat is not taken into account in fixing the price. As a result the local farmer sells animals or birds at low prices. The grading and pricing of meat according to its quality is done by the meat processors who eventually get a better return than the farmer.
The local farmers can only get the benefit if they engage in value addition activities aimed at enhancing the value of the livestock. The value additions activities can take different forms including the following:
- General improvement in the production process of the livestock and its products. The process should be market oriented if the farmer has to benefit from it.
- Human capacity training and coaching should be extended to the farmer to enable the local farmer to produce quality livestock products.
- The local farmers should be organised through the cooperative companies to start livestock processing with the aim of selling livestock products to consumers on their own and not through middlemen.
- There should livestock forums at local levels which enable the farmers to share knowledge about good practices of livestock farming
- Government should extend a line of credit to the organised local farmers to acquire the necessary infrastructure to improve the livestock production process. The farmers will require a slaughter house and refrigerated facilities to transport and store the processed livestock products.
Challenges in the value addition process
The challenges facing the farmers include the following:
- In semi-arid areas farmers loss the livestock during drought because of lack of water
- Lack of capital to put in place the necessary infrastructure to enhance livestock production
- There are no good roads in some areas where livestock pastoralists live. It is difficult therefore to transport animals to the market and inputs to the areas where livestock are found.
- The pastoralists lack the necessary knowledge of how to add value to their livestock. They tend to worry more about the numbers as opposed to the quality of the animal. The knowledge can be achieved through training and coaching.
- The graving land for local cows is increasing becoming scarce.
- There are no farmers owned livestock processing companies.
- Farm inputs in terms of minerals, drugs and animals are too expensive for the local farmer
- Lack of market oriented livestock keeping