Kenya pork value-chain opportunities

Dr. Christine Mburugu-Mosoti

The pork industry in Kenya and Africa continues to expand, creating new products and end-users, as well as providing numerous economic opportunities. However, Africa continues to remain a net importer of pork. In 2012, an estimated U$D 295 million worth of pork and related products were imported to Africa. The future of the pork sector in Africa is expected to be driven by three key factors: population growth that is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050; increased income; in light of predictions that seven out ten fastest growing economies in the world over the next five years will be in Africa; and urbanization – over half of the continent’s population is expected to live in urban areas by 2050.

In Kenya, the per capita consumption of meat is led by bovine meat at 12.2kg, mutton/goat at 2.2kg, and poultry at 0.6kg. Pork consumption is still at 0.4kg, against Uganda’s 3.4kg and South Africa’s 6.8kg (FAOSTATS, 2014).

Kenya’s pork industry is further characterised by lower carcass yield of pigs compared to Uganda and South Africa which are key pork consuming countries in Africa. This has been attributed to low weight at slaughter, degree of finish and age of animals at slaughter. This low yield of Kenyan pigs among others reiterates the human capacity challenge on husbandry.

The Kenyan pig industry is further differentiated into specialized business units consisting of feed millers, producers, abattoirs, processors and retailers. There are approximately 7, 000 pig producers in Kenya. Small-scale producers make up 70% of the industry with the remainder consisting of one large scale integrated commercial producer, large-and-medium scale producers; traditional free range and farmers with scavenging stock in slums.

Growing demand

In 2007 the country had 83 registered feed millers registered with the association of feed manufacturers; with an estimated installed capacity of 844,000 tons. Feed millers face challenges of sourcing high quality raw materials and low level of technology in production. These challenges have led to high feed prices beyond the reach of many farmers in Kenya.

Pig slaughter and processing for the market is undertaken largely in private abattoirs and processing firms. The existing gaps and challenges present business opportunities in input supply, feed, and processing in the pork value-chain in Kenya. To adequately meet its production demand, Kenya requires a supply of at least 1, 400 replacement breeding sows per year as well as supply of boar artificial insemination services; which is not available to farmers. Demand for quality affordable feeds is also a priority in the industry to feed over 350, 000 pigs.

In conclusion, the pig sector offers an opportunity for provision of high quality meat and products. Pig farming requires minimal land investment, pigs are ready for breeding from 8 months, and produce at least 2.2 liters per year and are efficient feed converters. There are also vast work opportunities on farm and past the farm gate means livelihoods for numerous people in Africa.

The author is a veterinarian and  pork value chain specialist based in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr Mburugu-Mosoti has vast experience in the pork-value chain in Kenya, having worked in East Africa’s largest farms (farrow to finish) and a global pork exporting company in various capacities. She has also participated in the Oklahoma State University’s 2014 Professional Fellows Program in the United States, where she was exposed to best practices in the livestock industry. Dr Mburugu-Mosoti can be reached at:


Author: Petunia Thulo

Thulo has a degree in B.A Communications and Honors degree in Journalism. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Management and Development from the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. The focus study in her Masters degree is around Corporate Social Responsibility in the Mining sector. Thulo has worked in the newsrooms for some of the Media24 Community Newspapers both in the North West Province as well as in the Western Cape Province.

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