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Pastoralists in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya have continuously relied on livestock and livestock products as their major source of livelihood. Apart from the provision of their daily subsistence in the form of meat and milk to over 80% of the rural population, the sale of livestock and livestock products generate the highly needed extra income to meet the cost of school fees, hospital bills and other essential needs. The government of Kenya supported livestock marketing from these regions through the livestock marketing division that enabled livestock farming communities to achieve competitive prices and reliable markets for their stocks.


The introduction of structural adjustment programs by donor countries has forced many developing countries Kenya included to  liberalize the provision of essential services including  domestic marketing of  livestock and their products and the delivery of veterinary services in order to cut costs and as a result  reduced the role of marketing and processing institutions like Kenya Meat Commission, which is reliable terminal market for ASAL pastoralists and this has left the marketing of livestock and livestock products in the hands of  private traders and middlemen who lacked the capacity to take over the role of these state corporations. The marketing problem has been aggravated by the poor state of infrastructure, which increases the cost of transaction for the farmers.


Traders and producers from these regions usually get low returns for their produce and this is because of the high cost of transactions involved. Animals are trekked for a long distance before they reach the primary markets long after they have lost body weight and shape hence low value; high mortality rates are also experienced due to loss of animals en route coupled with the high level of illiteracy that usually make theses traders susceptible to the shenanigans of corrupt middle men. Strict procurement procedures by KMC forces at times traders to transport animals to KMC headquarters hence incur unnecessary costs with no competitive prices.


The high potential for exports from livestock and livestock products by Gulf States remains fully unexploited due to inadequate capacity in standardization and quality control as well as inadequate processing capacity. This has meant that the livestock sector is largely dominated by primary production with little processing of produce. The shortage of high quality breeding stock acts as a further constraint to the exploitation of exports from the livestock sector. The lack of quality control and standardization of livestock products has significantly hindered access to foreign markets as local farmers fail to meet export health standards and quality requirements.


Co-management Model


The co-management model is a management system that was initiated by the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council (KLMC), Arid Lands Resource Management Project (ALRMP) and Samburu County Council in Samburu County in order to increase communities’ participation in the management of the newly constructed markets in Suguta Marmar, Archer’s Post and Baragoi. The model allows for a partnership between County Council, District Livestock Marketing Councils and Livestock Marketing Associations.

ALRMP which was a World Bank funded program constructed 3 livestock markets in Samburu County in order to promote livestock marketing. The markets were very well constructed and actually attracted other counties from upper eastern region.

The organization (ALRMP) was hesitant to hand over the markets to county council citing mismanagement and destruction of previously constructed markets. To protect the investment and acquire long term community benefit from the markets, ALRMP searched around for an acceptable alternative.  KLMC’s Northern regional office was approached to come up with an initiative that will promote good management and ensure the sustainability of the newly constructed markets.

KLMC with the support of Action Aid and ALRMP developed this management system which empowers communities to take part in the management of livestock markets in the country. However, Management and revenue collection at any livestock market are the mandate of local authorities as stipulated by the laws of the Country. Over the years, the council has been collecting revenues from livestock markets without ploughing back even a cent to the markets.

The co-management system is planned in such a way that the county councils and the livestock marketing associations which are affiliates of KLMC come together through a binding mutual agreement and share the revenues collected on a 50-50 basis. The income from revenue share is used to promote livestock marketing and provide required services by all stakeholders therefore sustaining the markets to provide long term benefit to the communities and all stakeholders including county councils.


Stake Holders and Beneficiaries

The co-management model is a comprehensive management model that involves all the relevant stakeholders including the community, DLMCs, County councils, district partners, government line ministries, traders, producers, livestock marketing associations and the Kenya livestock marketing council. The model befits livestock producers, traders, LMAs and the county council in terms of cess collection and management. As a result of steady collection of cess and its transparent use in the maintenance of the livestock markets, traders and producers are able to access essential services that are critical to their business.

Sustainability of the model

The model is based on a 50-50 formula where by the collected cess is shared equally between the respective county councils and the livestock marketing associations. Hitherto to the development of this model, no amount of the collected revenues were was ploughed back to the market, the model ensures that considerable amount of the revenue collected is committed towards market maintenance and provision of essential services such as security, loading, and effective and efficient structures. KLMC has trained the LMA and county  council staff  of all the markets that are under the management of the model on Governance, Leadership, Lobby and advocacy skills which has enhanced the level of integrity of all the management staff. A sense of community ownership was also realized that has contributed to the sustainability of these structures.

4.0 Success of the model

The co-management model provides financial rewards to both the parties involved (Livestock associations and the Local authorities). In addition to this, the local communities develop a sense of ownership and easily identify themselves with this model because of the direct benefits accrued to them in terms of having a direct control over the market space. As a sign of mutual commitment, the LMAs and the local authorities enter into a MoU which acts as a regulatory tool since the two parties are required to adhere to the terms of the agreement. The MoU provides the necessary checks and balances in the whole management setup.

Replicability of the model

The co-management concept was initially started as a pilot model in Samburu livestock market and after it proved successful, KLMC with the support of other partners replicated it in over 30 other markets in West Pokot, TanaRiver, Baringo, Isiolo, Garissa, Narok, Marsabit and others. It has been noted that the communities served by the model were able to easily identify themselves with it given the fact that the community participation is the central pillar of the model.

Qualitative and quantitative aspects of the model

Over time, the co-management model has generated impacts that have both qualitative and quantitative dimensions. As a result of better management practices at the markets’ level, reduced corruption and increased community participation, the model has improved the income level of the stakeholders to 30%. The livelihood of the households involved has substantially improved since they are now  able to meet the cost of other essential needs such as school fees, hospital bills and  necessary food stuff.The model has also created numerous other informal employment opportunities such as tea vending, catering, animal trekking and branding.

Quantitatively, the improved market management has attracted higher number of traders and hence increased market volume. Enhanced community participation has resulted into less cases of vandalism. It can therefore be summarized that co-management has played critical roles in facilitating the livestock value chain right from the farmers’ gate. It has provided a whole new dimension into how livestock trade and marketing were initially conducted not forgetting the trickle down effects that it has created.


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