Originally published on October 30, 2015.
A county government official collects tax from a trader at Kabati Livestock Market
Located along the busy Nairobi Garrissa highway, the Kabati Livestock Market bustles with hundreds of cattle, goats, and donkeys – all for trade. Operating twice a week, it is one largest livestock markets in Kitui County, attracting traders from as far as 300 km away and selling approximately 200 head of cattle and 400 shoats per day. Not long ago, this market lacked proper fencing, community ownership and the necessary infrastructure to facilitate trade. County officials had a difficult time playing the “cat and mouse” game with traders who could easily exit the market without paying tax on their sales.
The county government and local livestock association agreed that infrastructure was needed to make management more formalized and efficient. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Land O’Lakes International Development helped to build infrastructure around the market through the Kenya Semi-Arid Livestock Enhancement (K-SALES) project
. The intervention included construction of a fence, livestock holding pens, shading structures, water troughs and a small revenue office. County government officials are now able to collect tax revenue at the gate, and traders can keep better track of their animals.
Because of the newly constructed infrastructure, there has been an increase in the number of traders who prefer trading at Kabati Livestock Market as opposed to other markets in the area. This has in turn led to a noticeable increase on taxed revenue from KSh 10,000 to KSh 14,000 per day.
Since construction of the fence around Kabati Livestock Market, there has been an increase by about 30 percent in the revenue collected at the gate.
Kabati Livestock Market is among the 15 livestock markets rehabilitated by K-SALES. In a bid to expand trade of livestock products, K-SALES has formed and trained Livestock Marketing Associations (LMAs) such as the one in Kabati, to co-manage the markets with the county governments. The county government plans to work hand-in-hand with the livestock enterprise owners to maintain these infrastructures for sustainability and to reinvest back to the community by building schools and other amenities.
These efforts are part of a larger goal to improve the competitiveness of the meat value chain by increasing productivity and boosting marketing and trade across the region.