Demand overwhelming Kenya’s meat supply

  • Kenya had a meat deficiency of 300,000 metric tonnes per year by 2019
  • Meat from neighbouring countries must be imported to meet Kenya’s growing demand
  • The average Kenyan consumes 15 kilogrammes of meat each year

The average Kenyan consumes 15 kilogrammes of meat each year, with Nairobi residents eating two kilos more than the rest of the country.

There is more meat consumed by Nairobians compared to those in Mombasa and Nakuru, as well as those in Kajiado and Eldoret.

Kenya produced 592,858 tonnes of beef in 2020. During the period from 1971 to 2020, Kenya’s meat output grew at an average yearly rate of 2.73 per cent.

Kenya Markets Trust commissioned the Meat End-Market Trends in Kenya study in 2019, which found this to be the case. Almost all Kenyan families eat meat once a week, according to the findings of the study.

Read: Mapping agricultural value chain to access agro-finance

Between July and November of 2019, a nationwide analysis found that Kenya had a meat deficiency of 300,000 metric tonnes per year.

As a result of the scarcity, meat from neighbouring countries must be imported to meet Kenya’s growing demand.

Despite local deficits, the country is focusing on exports

The Export Processing Zone Authority has invested KSh2.1 billion in a cattle export quarantine centre despite the country’s lack of domestic meat supplies (EPZA).

Up to 6.5 million livestock farmers are projected to profit from the zone, with the first project taking place in Tana River’s Kibusu ranch. A 10-year quarantine policy by the EPZA is estimated to bring pastoralists KShs20 billion a year.

The completion date of the 9,000-acre cattle ranch was supposed to be December 2019 but this is yet to happen.

It is predicted that three million heads of cattle will be fattened in the first seven years of the EPZA strategy. This might take up to 18 months, depending on the rate of growth.

Nyama choma. The average Kenyan consumes 15 kilogrammes of meat each year. [Photo/Jiji]
A quarantine period of 21 to 30 days is required to ensure that the livestock being exported is in compliance with all regulations. Clinical and physical evaluations will be carried out on the animals during this time period.

The Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula are the primary markets for East Africa’s cattle exports.

This year’s overall value for marketed livestock and allied products in Kenya increased by KShs10 billion, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

As of 2017, the value of cattle and calves was Sh93.63 billion, followed by goats and sheep at Sh6.78 billion in the livestock sector.

According to the Kenyan meat study, the highest per capita intake of all forms of meat was found among the upper and middle-income groups, while the lowest per capita consumption was found among the poor.

However, the total amount of meat consumed by low-income earners is the largest because of their large population.

The amount of beef consumed on the market has significantly shifted in relation to the type of meat consumed.

A comparable study in 2009 found that 67% of Kenyans preferred red meat to white meat, but only 24% of those polled said the same thing now. In a surprising twist, “low-income consumers eat more fish than red meat,” according to the survey.

Buying cheap portions and products such as omena and fish leftovers that can be extended to feed more people than the tiniest units of red meat triggers this response in the consumer’s mind.

In general, the fall in red meat intake can be related to the high prevalence of lifestyle diseases associated with red meat.

Read: Are medical bills driving people into poverty in Kenya?

Meat imports into Kenya have steadily increased since 2005, reaching 2,292 tonnes in 2016.

There were 604 tonnes of bovine meat, 1,307 tonnes of pig meat, and 345 tonnes of poultry in these shipments, according to the global organization Knoema.

These figures suggest that the Kenyan beef market has a lot of potential that has yet to be tapped into.

Livestock PS Harry Kimutai claims that the majority of Kenya’s meat production is consumed domestically.

According to him, the market is mainly urban and segmented by disposable income.

“Meat is one of the fastest-growing industries in agriculture. Growth in meat exporters, population, urbanization, and household income all contribute to this trend,” Kimutai said.

Kenya produces an average of 408,000 metric tons of beef per year, according to the most recent figures. Zebu cattle from the arid and semi-arid regions make up 70% of this meat.

A tax cut on animal feeds is being sought by governors in order to promote production and provide their states an advantage in the market.

There is a consensus among Council of Governors (COG) that Treasury raw materials for animal feed should be zero-rated in order to subsidize the agricultural industry.

The World Bank would contribute an additional KShs800 million to equip slaughterhouses in four Kenyan counties.

With the construction of abattoirs in Garissa, Wajir, Isiolo, and Mandera counties, this is intended to boost the local and export markets.

He believes that, as part of ESP, the World Bank funding will be used to improve slaughterhouses to world-class standards.

Abattoirs will join the country’s other four slaughterhouses in selling meat to Middle Eastern countries.

Where to buy meat

House managers and female household members make the bulk of the decisions on what meat to buy.

In addition, there is a significant gulf between the people who make the decisions about what kind of meat to buy, where to buy it, and how much to pay and the people who actually buy it.

Consumers prefer buying meat at estate butcheries rather than malls and supermarkets, according to the findings of this survey.

Kenyan butchers. Kenya had a meat deficiency of 300,000 metric tonnes per year in 2019. [Photo/]
Butchers said they prefer to use animals from the Maasai ecosystem, ranches in northern Tanzania and Uganda, and feedlots because they meet the needs of the middle-class and the nyama choma market.

All other pastoralist marketplaces in the country supply lean meat to hospitals and academic institutions.

When it comes to purchasing meat, most consumers, especially those in the middle- and lower-income brackets, are unaware of differentiated items like ranch beef, pure grass-fed, and specific meat cuts.

Nyama choma and fast-food restaurants have an opportunity to package roast beef for home delivery and target high- and middle-income earners who are unable to go out for any reason, according to the study.

Because of this, there is a lack of understanding of the additional benefits of cold chain preservation.

Consumer education is needed to alter these attitudes and improve consumers’ knowledge of meat quality, according to the research.

Approximately 100,000 Kenyans die each year from cardiovascular disease as a result of poor dietary habits.

Smoking and alcohol abuse, poor diets, and sedentary lifestyles are the main causes of these illnesses. There has been an increase in obesity in Kenya, particularly in the cities.

Read: Africa’s meat production, demand create multibillion-dollar opportunities

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