Livestock marketing in Kenya–Ethiopia border areas

The Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) of the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) produced a working paper on “Livestock marketing in Kenya–Ethiopia border areas: a baseline study” (2010, 35pp) by Sara Pavanello. Livestock marketing is regarded as critical for improving pastoral household income. Addressing constraints to development of efficient livestock marketing in the Horn of Africa could help reduce pastoralists’ vulnerability to drought. This baseline study, commissioned by CARE International, identified structural issues behind livestock marketing in Mandera Central and West in Kenya and the Borana Zone in Ethiopia.

It was found that livestock marketing involves a complex trading chain involving producers, intermediaries, traders and other market participants. Animals move from bush, primary and secondary markets along key trading routes to terminal and export markets beyond the borders of Kenya and Ethiopia.

The most significant constraints to livestock marketing in the focus areas were:

  • Poor livestock market infrastructure and management, especially policy and institutional bottlenecks, overemphasis on physical infrastructure, and insufficient attention to market centre management issues;
  • Poor road infrastructure and long distances to markets;
  • Poor and uneven access to livestock price information, causing imbalance in the bargaining power of traders and producers.

Recommendations for action included:

  • Efforts to develop basic livestock market centres should be accompanied by efforts by government authorities and other development actors to improve services, other infrastructure and capacities in pastoral areas;
  • More attention should be paid to supporting and developing the capacity of traders’ cooperatives and to linking cooperatives to meat-processing plants, exporters and private abattoirs;
  • Producers’ bargaining power at markets should be strengthened, including attention to collective action and more structured organisation;
  • Market information collection efforts should be harmonised and reliable information should be disseminated in a timely manner to redress bargaining power imbalances;
  • Improve understanding of cross-border trade through in-depth analysis of volumes and types of animals traded, trading routes, key actors, main constraints and the role of cross-border trade so as to identify entry points for support to cross-border initiatives; this information could also be fed into advocacy activities to redress policymakers’ negative perceptions of cross-border livestock trade.

Posted on 31 December 2016 in Pastoralism & Marketing