Livestock and Fisheries

Livestock Analysis & Competitive Advantage

Livestock - The Kenyan Context

Livestock accounts for 12% of Kenya’s GDP and employs 50% of the agriculture labour force with approximately 70% of the country’s livestock output coming from 10 million pastoralists living in Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The sub-sector supplies the domestic requirements of meat, eggs, milk, and dairy products with the per capita consumption of livestock products estimated at 16kgs of meat, 121 litres of milk, and 45 eggs per person annually respectively.

The livestock sub-sector is a critical pillar in Turkana County’s ambition to achieve food security as well as climate-change objectives. The  Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASGTS, 2019-2029) identified dairy, beef, sheep/goat, poultry, and camel as priority value chains that have a high potential for agricultural transformation with projections indicating the exponential growth of the sub-sector over the next three decades

The  Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) estimates the country's annual production at 300,000 tonnes against a demand of 648,252 tonnes. With meat demand outstripping local production capacity, there is potential for investors to explore opportunities in livestock production and value addition in both the local as well as international market

Table: Livestock Production 
Production Unit 2016 2017 2018 2019
Dairy Milk Production  Mn. Litres 448.6 410.6 468.4 491.8
Cattle and Calves Slaughtered '000 Head 2,460.2 2,590.0 2,781.7 3,080.8
Sheep and Goats Slaughtered '000 Head
8,220.2 9,206.7 10,247.6 11,302.7
Poultry Meat Production Mn. Kgs 45.93 106.97 96.78 89.55
Poultry Eggs Production Mn. Eggs 50.98 52.92 426.53 501.81

Source: KNBS and the State Department for Livestock

Table:  Livestock International Trade  

Trade Regime Livestock Product/Commodity Value (USD)
Export Sheep and Goat Meat
Live Cattle
Live Sheep and Goats
Live Camels
Camel Meat
4.8 million
1.5 million
Import Sheep and Goat Meat
Live Cattle
Live Sheep and Goats
Live Camels
Camel Meat

Source: UN Comtrade Database
[1]   Values reported as 0 have either not been reported or indicates absence of trade in the commodity

With investment in improved infrastructure to facilitate trade coupled with effective resource allocation and extension services to improve production capacity, experts estimate that by 2050, the livestock sub-sector will supply an additional 7.8 million tonnes of milk, beef, and chicken meat to the population, an increase of about 150 percent compared to production numbers today.

Livestock in Turkana County

Turkana County is a major player in livestock and meat production with 60 percent of the population dependent on livestock as their source of livelihood. According to a 2009 Livestock Census, the County had 1,534,612 head of cattle, 3,519,148 sheep, 5,994,881 goats, 832,462 camels, 558,189 donkeys and 180,798 chicken. In 2020, the Turkana County Government  estimated the County to have 2.5 million head of cattle, 6.7 million sheep, 6.9 million goats, 0.9 million camels, and 0.6 million donkeys.

This sizable population of resilient livestock breeds that are traded at the 49 market centers managed by Livestock Marketing Associations (LMAs) on behalf of the community, coupled with access to both domestic and export markets through cross-border linkages with Ethiopia, South Sudan and Uganda, Turkana County is primed to capitalize on both the production and value addition potential in the livestock sub-sector.

To facilitate private sector investment in livestock, the Turkana County Government has prioritized the implementation of enabling policies aimed at unlocking growth potential in the sub-sector. The County Government is also investing in extension services that are nuanced to pastoral livestock farmers, upgrading the road network to enhance market access as well as the marketing infrastructure to facilitate trade

Fisheries_Analysis & Competitive Advantage  

Fisheries - The Kenya Context

Kenya’s fisheries sector accounts for 0.5 percent of GDP and directly employs over 80,000 fishermen and fish farmers. The sector also provides a livelihood for over 2.3 million Kenyans who are mainly involved in fish processing and trade. The Agriculture Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASGTS, 2019-2029) has identified fish farming as one of the value chains with the largest growth potential within the agricultural sector.

The average national per capita consumption rate of fish per year is 3.7kg compared to the global average rate nearing 20kg. This is, in part, due to the country’s low production capacity with the average demand of 700,000 tonnes outstripping production capacity averaging 148,000 tonnes. 

Table: Quantity of Fish Landed

Production Unit 2016 2017 2018 2019
Landed Freshwater Fish '000 Tonnes 123.51 111.81 122.46 120.87
Landed Marine Fish '000 Tonnes
24.16 23.28 24.22 25.67
TOTAL Freshwater and Marine Fish '000 Tonnes
163.82 147.67 135.10 146.54

  Source: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

During the Third Medium-Term Plan (2018 - 2022) review of Kenya’s vision 2030, Blue Economy was recognized and included as the eighth priority sector under the economic pillar. The recognition offers the Blue Economy a higher focus by the government. The sector offers economic investment opportunities in Kenya’s Blue Economy as the country seeks to protect and sustainably utilize its ocean and blue economy resources

Table: Fisheries and International Trade

Trade Regime Fish Product/Commodity Value (USD)
Export  Fish and fishery products
Live Fish
2.7 million
Import Fish and fishery products
Live Fish
Source: UN Comtrade Database
[1]       Values reported as 0 have either not been reported or indicates absence of trade in the commodity

The bulk of this total annual catch (92.5 percent), is landed from Lake Victoria by some 30,000 fishermen, using manually or wind-powered boats and canoes. Marine fish, which includes finfish, crustaceans, and molluscs, account for 3.9 percent of the total catch; while fish harvested from other inland waters like Lake Turkana constitutes 3.1 percent. Aquaculture accounts for about 0.5 percent of the total production with tilapia and trout forming the bulk of farmed fish in Kenya.

The national government is working closely with catchment counties to implement a comprehensive set of incentives, policies, and regulations to ensure an increase of fish production in the country by 10 percent annually while protecting the fisherfolk and investors.

Fisheries in Turkana County

Fisheries in Turkana County mainly consists of captured fisheries from Lake Turkana. Lake Turkana is also the second-largest producer of landed freshwater fish in the country after Lake Victoria with an annual average of 8500 metric tonnes with the highest catch recorded in 2015 at 11,534 metric tonnes.

Lake Turkana has over 60 described fish species with five species contributing over 80% of the county’s annual catch. These include Tilapia, Nile Perch, Catfish, Labeo, and Distichodus. This variety of fish has a market that currently spans across major towns in Kenya as well as inland regional urban centres stretching as far as the Democratic Republic of Congo

The sector is a source of income, food, employment for the pastoral community and revenue for both levels of government. The Fisheries sector in Turkana employs an estimated 7,000 fisherfolk and 6,500 fish traders operating across the 24 main fish landing sites on the western shores of Lake Turkana at Lowarengek, Nachukui, Lomekwi, Kataboi, Namadak, Kalokol, Longech, Eliye Springs, Merier, and Kerio

Cognizant of the potential in the fisheries sub-sector, the Turkana County Government has prioritized targeted strategic interventions aimed at developing the fisheries value chains, enhance commercialization and advocacy on the sustainable management of fisheries resources.

Source of data: Ministry of Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries

Strategic Interventions

The Turkana County Government, through strategic interventions in collaboration with the National Government, Development Partners, and the Private Sector, continues to support and catalyze both domestic and foreign investors in the County’s Livestock and Fisheries sub-sectors. Some of these interventions include:

  • Prioritization of the 2 sub-sectors by dedicating and resourcing an entire County Government department to facilitate the sustainable development and management of livestock and fisheries. This includes a direct investment of USD 37 million between 2018 and 2022 to enhance the County’s production capacity

  • Direct investment of over USD 15.28 million between 2018 and 2022 towards the conservation of the flora, fauna and wildlife resources in Turkana County as well as the promotion of biological diversity, environmental conservation, and sustainability

  • Development of legislative instruments like the Turkana County Livestock Policy and Bill and Turkana County Livestock Saleyards Bill to entrench county-specific incentives for investors

  • Collaborating with the National Government on the National Agricultural and Rural Inclusive Growth (NARIG) Project to improve the production of sheep and goats

  • Collaboration with the National Government and Development Partners in the implementation of the Agricultural Sector Development Support Programme to consolidate and harmonize development interventions in the Livestock and Fisheries sub-sectors

  • Rehabilitation and upgrading of supporting infrastructure including roads, fish landing sites, and livestock markets across the county

  • Facilitating the development of a Feasibility Study for the Revival of the Meat Processing Plant in Lomidat as well as the Strategic Integrated Value Chain Action Plan (SIVCAP) showcasing the commercial and investment opportunities in the goat meat value chain

  • Providing free veterinary services, free extension services, and free vaccinations across all sub-counties to help improve livestock productivity

  • Participating in the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) that - through various interventions - enhances the resilience of the pastoralist community with an aim of improving livestock-based livelihoods and sustainable socio-economic development through livestock marketing

Areas of Opportunity

The Turkana County Government has established partnerships with the National Government, Development Partners, the Kenya Investment Authority, and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Through these partnerships, the County Government, in consultation with stakeholders, is constantly profiling and documenting domestic as well as foreign direct investment opportunities in the Livestock and Fisheries sub-sectors

In line with the Kenya Vision 2030 and the County Government’s Nine-Point Development Agenda, the Turkana County Government invites interested investors and mid-sized startup enterprises to participate and develop opportunities in:

  • Rehabilitation and operations of the Meat Processing Plant in Lomidat and establishment of a meat processing plant in Lokichoggio

  • Operationalization of the tannery in Lodwar

  • Establishment of a facility to process animal feeds and inputs for sheep, goats, and cattle

  • Establishment of a facility to produce fishing equipment to scale commercialized fishing activities in Lake Turkana

  • Establishment of cold storage and value addition for the fisheries sub-sector

  • Collaboration with technology solution providers as well as research institutions to enhance production quality and veterinary services

  • Breeding technologies and services to introduce more resilient livestock breeds

  • Diversification of livestock farming into rabbit and poultry production and value addition

For more information regarding the advisory services and incentives available in these investment opportunities, please contact the Turkana County Investment Promotion Unit.