Livestock traders made over $5 million in trade commitments last week in Garissa, Kenya – the largest total yet for a livestock trade facilitation forum organized by the USAID Hub in partnership with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Partnership for Resilience and Economic Growth (PREG) members. The Garissa livestock market extends over 5.38 acres, making it one of the largest markets in East and Central Africa. Hundreds of livestock traders from Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia stream into the market each morning with their cattle to trade over 5,000 animals daily. The animals flow to feeder markets like Bambala, Modogashe and Ijara and other terminal markets including Nairobi, Thika, Mombasa, Kirinyaga and Mwea.
“I have just bought sixty-six bulls from an Ethiopian seller and I plan to transport them back to my farm by the end of the day,” said an excited livestock trader from Kirinyaga County, Kenya.
More than eighty participants attended the Garissa Livestock Trade Facilitation Forum on November 29, whereby buyers and sellers made 88 trade deals worth $5,100,824 for 14,815 animals comprised of cattle (72 percent), shoats (27 percent) and camels (1 percent). This forum brings the total value of commitments facilitated by the USAID Hub livestock B2Bs to over $7 million.
The Garissa forum is the fourth in a series of trade facilitation forums organized by the USAID Hub, ILRI and PREG members. These forums are designed to build on the existing interventions by various partners by creating business liquidity through increased trade. They provide a formalized trading platform and networking opportunity which improves market information dissemination and builds trust among traders, government officials and business service providers. Representatives from the Livestock and Finance County Executive Committees were in attendance and offered full support to the livestock traders. Various service providers also participated in the forum, including Equity Bank, National Bank and Takaful Insurance. These connections ultimately lead to greater market linkages and livestock trade across the region with traders from Somalia and Ethiopia being able to access new markets traversing as far as Kirinyaga County in Kenya
William Mugambi, who has attended all of the livestock forums since the first one held in Marsabit, Kenya, is already using his exposure to meet new sellers from Garissa and neighboring countries. “With the contacts I have made today, I am already planning my trip back here next week to purchase some cattle. I like the Garissa market due to its variety in cattle breeds,” he said.
In Kenya, the livestock sector employs about 90 percent of the 7 million people in arid and semi-arid lands (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). Given its economic influence, the livestock sector has a high potential to contribute to economic growth and resiliency in the ASALs if it expands its regional and export market for semi-processed and finished leather goods.