Advancing Investment Opportunities in the Kenyan Livestock Sector: A Pathway to Sustainable Growth and Development

Investors are displaying a keen interest in bolstering the Kenyan livestock sector despite encountering various challenges. Kenya’s dynamic livestock industry, which sustains an estimated 25 million livelihoods and contributes 42% to the national agricultural GDP, holds promise as a potential solution to mitigate hunger crises prevalent not only within the country but across the entire continent. This optimism is rooted in the recognition that agriculture serves as the linchpin of Africa’s economy and sustenance.

Projections suggest a substantial surge in demand for livestock products, expected to escalate by up to 50% by the year 2030. Such forecasts underscore a tangible opportunity for strategic investments aimed at fostering growth and innovation within the sector. Moreover, there is an imperative to ensure that livestock production advances sustainably, thereby mitigating adverse environmental and social impacts.

Despite its undeniable significance, the livestock sector grapples with chronic underfinancing. While private-sector investments in agriculture have witnessed growth, allocations toward the livestock segment remain disproportionately low.

A recent analysis conducted by Gatsby Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and AgThrive delved into the Kenya Livestock sector Investor Landscape, aiming to uncover avenues for stimulating more robust investment both within Kenya and across the African continent.

Mary Mburu, General Manager of Choice Meats, highlights production challenges as a pivotal concern in livestock investments. Ensuring the quality of outputs remains paramount, with fluctuations in production posing a significant obstacle due to uncertainties regarding the consistency of meat delivery.

livestock sector
Mary Mburu, CEO of Choice Meats

The aforementioned study identifies several factors impeding investment traction within the livestock sector. These encompass the sector’s informality, risks inherent at the production level such as disease outbreaks and weather-related uncertainties, a dearth of visible investment prospects, and a deficiency in “investor-ready” enterprises.

Kristin Girvetz, Director at AgThrive, underscores the prominence of dairy and poultry ventures, which have garnered over 50% of the investments scrutinized in the study. Their established operations, robust revenue streams, and reliable consumer demand channeled through formal marketing channels render them particularly appealing to investors.

The study’s revelations underscore a burgeoning demand for investments, signaling the necessity for proactive pipeline development and collaborative endeavors among investors. Simultaneously, businesses must prioritize readiness for investment opportunities in the livestock sector.

Arjun Bhoopal from Gatsby Africa emphasizes the abundance of capital in the short term, juxtaposed with the challenge of identifying viable investment avenues. Collaborative initiatives between investors and enterprises are touted as instrumental in exploring novel approaches to mitigate risks and reduce financing costs, thereby catalyzing investments across Kenya and beyond.

The Livestock Investor Landscape study, conducted by Gatsby Africa, ILRI, and AgThrive, received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Global Livestock Advocacy for Sustainable Development (GLAD) project implemented by ILRI, alongside Gatsby Africa.

Shirley Tarawali, Assistant Director General at ILRI, underscores the criticality of unlocking additional finance for livestock solutions to meet the escalating demand for milk, meat, and eggs. Such investments are indispensable for fostering sustainable growth within the livestock sector, thereby engendering triple wins that benefit smallholder farmers, bolster climate adaptation and mitigation efforts, and advance Kenya’s economic growth and sustainable development agenda.

The study findings were unveiled at the Livestock Investors Convening and Pitch Event, a gathering that brought together stakeholders from livestock businesses, investors, and development agencies. This forum served as a platform for sharing insights on the livestock investment landscape in Kenya, showcasing innovative business ventures, and fostering collaboration to unlock further investment opportunities for the Kenyan livestock sector

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