On an ordinary Monday morning, the Isiolo Livestock Market is abuzz with activity. Lying on the LAPSSET Corridor where the Isiolo-Marsabit-Moyale segment is already complete, the route has good infrastructure. As a result, traders from these regions find it easier to ferry their livestock. The Isiolo market also attracts traders from other counties, including Nairobi and Wajir, and even neighboring countries like Ethiopia who congregate here to buy and sell cows, goats, sheep and camels.
Among the busy traders at the Isiolo market are William, Zeinab, Habiba and Mohammed Wario who have already attended livestock trade facilitation forums organized by the USAID Hub in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) members. As they prepared to attend the Isiolo business-to-business (B2B) forum, they reflected on their participation in the previous B2Bs held in Marsabit and Wajir, noting the importance of formalized business structures and the resultant business linkages and actualized trade.
“Due to the face value accorded by the B2Bs in Marsabit and Wajir, I have been able to build trust with other traders, with some even accepting payments on later dates after purchase. In fact, as we speak, I am waiting for some livestock from Wajir as a result of the recently concluded B2B forum,” said Mohammed Wario, Isiolo Livestock Market Association Secretary.
Nearly eighty participants attended the Isiolo Livestock Facilitation Forum on October 31. From the trading session, 80 deals worth $891,058 were committed for 3,821 animals comprised of cattle (53 percent), shoats (43 percent) and camels (4 percent). To date, the USAID Hub livestock B2B forums have facilitated over $2 million in commitments for more than 13,000 animals. Various service providers also participated in the forum, including Equity Bank, National Bank, Takaful Insurance and the Greenmeal Feed Company, with the aim to create linkages between traders and business service providers in the livestock sub-sector.
The Isiolo forum is the third in a series of trade facilitation forums organized by the USAID Hub, ILRI and PREG members. They are designed to build on the existing interventions by various partners by creating business liquidity through increased trade. The forums are geared towards providing a formalized trading platform and networking opportunity so as to build trust that can contribute to greater market linkages and livestock trade.
In Kenya, over 70 percent of the national livestock herd, including camels and donkeys, is kept in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs). The livestock sector employs about 90 percent of the 7 million people in ASALs and contributes to 95 percent of the family income. Overall, the sector contributes to 42 percent of Kenya’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP). With such a great impact on the economy, the livestock sector has a high potential to contribute to economic growth if it expands its regional and export market for semi-processed and finished leather goods.
Through these forums, the Hub supports efficient market information dissemination and business linkages for increased livestock trade and resilience of communities living in the ASAL regions. The Hub and in collaboration with PREG partners will host the next livestock trade-facilitation forum in Garissa.