Revamping Kenya’s Livestock Industry: A Close Look at the Proposed Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023

May 8th, 2023 marked the official initiation of public Stakeholders Consultation on the proposed Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023, led by Harry Kimtai, PS for Livestock Development. Now, after rigorous discussions, inputs from a diverse range of stakeholders, and extensive consultations spanning several clusters across the country, the process is nearing its conclusion.

This landmark bill intends to introduce stringent regulations and standards to the animal production sector in Kenya. It aims to streamline the training, registration, and licensing of animal production professionals and technicians, thereby bringing much-needed structure to the sector.

The bill was publicly discussed at a meeting held at Kisumu Hotel, Kisumu County, which saw a robust exchange of ideas, experiences, and views from professionals and stakeholders in the livestock industry. According to Kimtai, the primary objective of the bill is to bring order to the industry, address lack of animal welfare standards, and curb the degradation of Rangelands ecosystems.

As the public consultations concluded at a meeting in Machakos county, the diverse turnout of participants underscored the importance of this bill to the sector. “More than 100 participants from both the private and public sectors were in attendance,” shared Dr. Christopher Wanga, director of Livestock Policy Research and Regulations at the State Department of Livestock.

The consultation process led to several key insights and provisions in the proposed Bill. One of these is the establishment of a board to regulate animal production professionals. “The farmer will not be advised by just anybody,” Wanga stated, stressing the significance of having only well-trained, registered, and regulated professionals in the field.

The proposed legislation has been embraced as a stepping stone towards improving the livelihoods of stakeholders and the industry’s overall productivity. Evans Makoha, chairman of the task force, pointed out that the bill would provide a platform for job creation for the youth in the livestock industry and help prevent the circulation of adulterated feeds, thereby improving livestock productivity.

Looking ahead, stakeholders anticipate that the bill will bridge the regulatory gap in the industry. “This has come at a time when the livestock industry is basically unregulated,” Makoha noted.

With the promise of the Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023, Kenya’s livestock industry stands on the cusp of significant change. The hope is that this comprehensive roadmap, shaped by the collective insights and experiences of industry professionals, will pave the way for a thriving, sustainable, and humane livestock industry in Kenya.

The proposed Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023 sets the stage for transformative developments in Kenya’s livestock industry. What started as a series of stakeholder consultations has now culminated into a comprehensive blueprint for the sector’s future, encompassing elements from animal welfare to job creation.

Regulation is the heart of this bill. “The ministry is happy that… we now are going to ensure that all the professionals within the livestock sector are regulated,” Dr. Wanga said. This measure will offer unprecedented assurance to farmers. For the first time, they will be able to access quality services from reliable, trained personnel, who are identifiable since they have been trained, registered, and regulated.

Reflecting on the broader benefits of the bill, Evans Makoha stressed the role of regulation in preventing adulterated feeds, thereby improving livestock productivity. He also emphasized the role of the bill as a policy instrument to drive the livestock policy. The improved regulation will “help improve the livestock industry,” he noted, and presents a considerable opportunity to increase production.

The proposed bill doesn’t stop at enhancing the industry’s current state. It also focuses on the future, particularly on the youth. Makoha says the bill will “offer an opportunity for increased production alongside creating jobs for the youth in the livestock industry.” This provision has far-reaching implications for the country’s economic health, as it can drive economic growth, reduce unemployment, and secure the future of the livestock industry.

The proposed Animal Production Professionals and Technicians Bill 2023 stands as a beacon of transformation for Kenya’s livestock industry. With a focus on regulating the industry, improving productivity, and paving the way for future generations, it holds the potential to usher in a new era of prosperity and sustainability for the livestock sector in Kenya. As the stakeholders await the final version of the Bill, there’s palpable anticipation for the profound impact it’s expected to have, bringing the industry one step closer to achieving its full potential.