Blog Post

18 Apr
By: CGK 0




I am pleased to be part of this gathering here today to preside over the Kenya Pastoralists’ Week (KPW) which is an annual multi-stakeholder partnership.

Today, we converge here as stakeholders in the livestock sub sector. Here, we have
individual pastoralists, pastoralists’ associations, government (both National and County), private sector, academia and mainstream civil society to interact and impart skills and knowledge on pastoralism and its best management practices. KPW, thus, provides a unique opportunity for the various stakeholders to access pastoralist audience and markets.


The theme of Kajiado’s edition of KPW is Supporting Climate Smart Pastoralism in Kenya. This is, supporting an approach for transforming and reorienting pastoralism development under new realities of climate change.

This event showcases what we are doing about enhancing our peoples’ resilience to climate change as well as creating visibility, among pastoralists, of our products and services around climate change and resilience. It is also an opportunity to exchange ideas on how we can design better climate smart products and services, and hence enhance investment and consequently job creation and improved household incomes.


Basically, pastoralism resilience is the suitability to adapt to the arid and semi-arid environment which is characterised by low, variable rainfall pattern; high temperature; shrinking grazing land and reducing water points. The cumulative impact of land loss through human settlement due to population growth and industrialisation is rendering pastoralism unsustainable in its pure form in many areas.
There is simply not enough land or water, nor the required variety of pasturage and forage, to maintain a herd of the size and quality needed by the average household of a pastoral community.

The Kenya Pastoralists Week 2018 thus presents yet another opportunity for the country to focus on how best to support pastoralism to enable it be a key contributor to our economy.

It is more important than ever, for this country to have a conversation about how to step up efforts that can lead to a climate resilient pastoralism.


The Government recognised the potential of pastoralism in the 2010 Constitution of Kenya, by providing affirmative action programmes through Article 56. This is to ensurepreviously neglected pastoralist areas develop at the same pace with the rest of the country.

This was amplified in the Sessional Paper number 8 of 2012 on National Policy for the Sustainable Development of Northern Kenya and other Arid Lands: Releasing Our Full Potential’which disabuses the previously held argument that mobile pastoralism was irrational and environmentally destructive, and that the ASALs contributed little to the national economy. Contrary to this, as clearly asserted by the sessional paper, pastoralist areas have a lot of untapped potential which, if exploited, will lead to accelerated development of not only these areas, but the whole country.

I note with concern, the ever-mounting pressure from population growth, poverty, climate change and policies has unbearable consequences to traditional livestock based economy, necessitating a serious thinking not only for pastoralists but also for government.

The ASAL policy, which is currently under review, is planning to map, identify and undertake reclamation, rehabilitation and restoration of degraded and wasted lands in the ASALs. Here in Kajiado County, we already have a Spatial Plan whose aim is to ensure proper utilization of the land resource.

We, therefore, take this opportunity, to remind all our partners and stakeholders, that pastoralism is a very critical livelihood to the development of this nation. Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), constitute three quarters of the Kenya’s land mass and pastoralism provides livelihood to millions of Kenyans.

The livestock sub-sector employs half of the agricultural labour and has the highest employment multiplier. It contributes 12 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and accounts for 30 per cent of the agricultural output. The arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) host more than 75 per cent of Kenya’s livestock and employ 90 per cent of the regions’ residents.

The ‘2017 Kenya Economic Report’ by KIPPRA, shows the gross marketed production value for livestock and related products rose from Sh100.8 billion in 2015 to Sh 124.9 billion in 2016. This was the highest rise in four years.

The livestock economy remains largely informal, lowly productive, underdeveloped and hardly attracts investments. With no proper policy to support pastoralism, there is very weak investment in provision of services and infrastructure for the development of a vibrant livestock industry in the country.

Kajiado County is largely a livestock and agriculture-based economy. Provision of quality life to all citizens is envisioned in Vision 2030. To improve the economic base and increase incomes of the pastoral community in Kajiado, my Government has launched similar programmes based on the Vision’s three pillars: the economic, the social and the political. Eleven key flagship projects to drive this goal have been identified in the following areas;

Hay Production, Conservation and Utilization where we have set aside 10,000 acres for this purpose.
Development and strengthening of Livestock value chains.
Support for Community Based Organizations (CBOs)
Linkage of the livestock subsector to the water subsector;Here, we are collaborating with the National Irrigation Board (NIB) to construct 400 small dams for irrigation across the county.
Revamping of livestock markets by introducing weighing machines and other services


To achieve the desired interventions for profitable pastoralism, not just in Kajiado, but across the country, several legislations are important.

My government through the different departments will draft several legislations to enable us implement our agenda. For example, because of the importance of Adaptation to climate change, my government will introduce into the County Assembly the Kajiado County Adaptation Fund Bill. Already about four counties (Makueni, Wajir, Garissa and Kitui) have passed the Climate Change Adaptation Fund Act.

With its structure designed to have Ward Adaptation and Planning Committees across the county, the Adaptation Plans place the community members at the centre of adaptation planning and decision making.
In the last drought period, Kajiado County recorded 232,400 livestock deaths, most of them while searching for pasture. With a healthy cow costing about KES 60,000, this was about Sh13.94 billion lost!

In achieving climate resilient pastoralism, the private sector has a very key role to play, not only through promoting climate smart investments that provide returns, but also through supporting community initiatives that enable communities to cope with negative impacts of climate change induced weather variables like droughts and floods.

The private sector and financial intermediaries, however, have had little interest to develop specialised support services and products for nomadic pastoralists, owing to perceived minimal return on investments.

Livestock has the highest potential for reducing poverty, creating employment and contributing to economic growth. That Kenyans eat the most meat in East Africa is indisputable. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a Kenyan consumes about 14 kilogrammes of meat every year; This is almost three times as much meat as a Rwandese.

In 2014, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research declared Kenya “a meat deficit country” due to its shortage of 4,500,000 kilogrammes of meat. I, therefore, challenge the private sector to develop innovative products, in collaboration with the pastoralists, which will transform the livestock sub-sector into a highly profitable commercial sector.

It is very clear from available data that improving market access and productivity for the livestock value chain players and strengthening husbandry and animal management are ways of addressing this. This can be achieved through co-management of livestock markets; enhanced capacity building and promotion of innovative fodder management; strengthening the traditional pastoralist institutions and mobilising pastoralists and value chain actors into unified units such as cooperatives and community groups.


The review of the 2012-2017 National Climate Change Action Plan is currently underway. It principally, focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation. I note with concern that there was inadequate involvement of pastoralists in the development of this Plan.

This oversight is recurring in the 2018-2022 version. Given the prominence of adaptation and mitigation programmes in the action plan, it is important that the voice of the marginalised communities is heard loudly. We therefore ask Civil Society organisations, led by those present here today, to ensure that we are able to consolidate our voice as pastoralists and effectively engage with this important process that is scheduled to end in May 2018.

The Kenya Pastoralists Week 2018 would not have been successful without the support and contribution of many individuals and institutions. The County Government of Kajiado, being the host, took the lead in planning for this event with the other stakeholders and partners. I particularly note that this is the first ever Kenya Pastoralists Week, in the last 15 years, that has been planned jointly between government and civil society. We take pride as Kajiado for taking this lead.

I am also informed that this being the case, this is the best ever Kenya Pastoralists Week event. However, this would not have been possible without the invaluable contribution of the Centre for Minority Rights Development (Cemiride), which has, for several years now, worked to provide pastoralists with this platform.

I also recognise the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), the Asal Stakeholders Forum (ASF) and Tata Chemicals for their sponsorship of the Kajiado edition.

All the exhibitors and other partners are also duly recognised. I would like to thank all those who took time out of their busy schedules duties and selflessly provided ideas and skills to ensure that this event succeeded.

With these remarks, I would like to declare the Kenya Pastoralists Week (2018) officially open.

God Bless You all. Karibuni Kajiado.

(from left)Trade Chief Officer Grace Sekento,County Commissioner David Kipkemei ,County boss H.E Joseph Lenku, Kajiado Senator Phillip Mpaayei, Garisa Governor Ali Korane and Deputy Governor Martin Moshisho going through the cultural exhibition stand during the past Kenya Pastoralists week held at MTTI,Kajiado.