The Pastoralist Beef Price Con

The Pastoralist Beef Price Con

By Najar Munyinyi

The World over, Pasture fed beef prices are friendlier than the prices our pastoralists are paid. The biggest lie in Kenya to our Pastoralists is the price of grass fed beef. In truth it is 1300/- Kenya shillings, per kilo.  “…in America, the price of Wholesale (Boxed Beef) prices were up from last week with USDA Choice beef trading at more than shillings 19,000.69, up 200.79 from the week prior per pound. The average weight of Steers was 858 pounds for Feedlots.” This is just under 15 times more.

Northland communities have continuously sold themselves short by relying on both Government and the con treat of Ian Craig and his NRT to give them a fair exchange for their cattle – but in a capitalistic market this is not possible – so it’s time to take the proverbial bull by the horns for the sake of the next generation for Pasture Fed beef.

Waiting for ‘seri kali’ to do anything for people has previously resulted in severe marginalization and a continuous ‘hand-out’ mentality. The Abattoir that has been promised has never been built, yet there are businessmen who can jointly begin small start-ups which can grow into larger money-making ventures to sell beef worldwide. Namibia and South Africa export beef to America.

Export markets are available for good Pasture Fed beef in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Europe and the Scandinavian countries. Instead they are sold to Northern Range Land Trust (NRT) as middlemen.

Most beef sold by Kenya is sold by NRT, and is FeedLot Beef, where the cattle are fenced in, do little roaming and are fattened with food which has not only been sprayed with dangerous pesticides, but the cattle are also injected with antibiotics to cure them from diseases before selling.

Developing small scale community based abattoirs in Northlands will mean that Cattle will not have to be ‘fattened’ because they will be roaming for miles to NRT stations, and they can be sold year round on the spot when they are fat and healthy before the long dry rainy seasons make them loose necessary fat.

Instead of selling to NRT who offer ridiculously low prices in an effort to destock and underprice beef, business men can grow their own markets and control their sales, e.g. sell only bulls for beef, or very old female cows. If one must sell venison be sure you sell the one that has not given birth.

Protect yourselves and always have the potential to restock from healthy cows and bulls. Never sell the chief bull, even for a million. Where will you get another Prize Bull from? Think forwards…  pastoral business men. They can create their own markets by inviting Meat Merchants from around the world to their communities and see the cattle in their territories. Build beef safari lodges for the meat merchants to stay in and charge the necessary fees – cattle drive, and maybe one or two ‘game’ drives tossed in for an additional fee. A beef tour without making any commitment can be charged a fixed rate. Business Control is paramount. Always keep in mind that free range cattle prices are at a minimum of 600,000/- for a min of 400 kg for dressed beef, leaving the hides hoofs, tails and other parts for industries that can be created. Stop taking/walking your beef to ‘butcheries’ let the beef buyers come to you, sell the beef, keep the rest.

Communities must get together and work with their County reps to sink boreholes in Merti and create large scale waterholes. County government with community leaders can even set up a Water Plant if the County government is approached well. What is the point of opening yet another SCHOOL when water is a serious issue in Isiolo –  if water in Aberdares can reach Nairobi why can’t water from Merti reach the furthest corners of siolo and NEP?

Apart from European, Arabian or Australian Markets, is another truth – every year Africans spend billions of dollars on all kinds of meat products, and according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a key agency of the United Nations, consumption of meat in Africa will grow from its current size of 10.5 million tons to 35 million tons by 2050. Why are pastoralists destocking now? The future is not LAPSSET or Isiolo Airport – the future is meat, and northerners can import millions of tons of meet through both the road and the Airport!! Make use of these places. So what if no Isiolo youth  works in the Isiolo Airport?? Let them raise herds of sheep, goats, beef and camels and look for meet markets and then import that beef! The returns are better than a ‘salary’ – ( and which nomad can sit on a chair the whole day)

Not only Kenya, but over the next three decades, Africa itself will have the world’s fastest growing population, with the current population of just over 1 billion people, the number is projected to double in size to 2.2 billion people by 2050.  Who will be supplying NAIROBI CITY with Beef – our economy may be dropping right now, but in time it will rise and with growing economies and a stronger richer middle class, more Kenyans will be able to afford meat in the coming years, and they will turn to the healthier pasture-fed, non GMO beef.

Prices world wide of Free Range Cattle are vastly more expensive at $2,497 or 251, 572.75 per average of 186 kg. (Dressed) while organic pasture grazed, grass-fed beef, the average price will run from $6.50 to $6.75 per pound (less than half a kilo or 0.4kg). That’s 650 Kenya Shillings per half

kilo. And that is about the price of one pound (0.4kg) of ground grass-fed beef at a Farmer’s Market or at Whole Foods Market in USA, the UK, Dubai and Australia. Control the Kenyan beef prices.

The only other strong competitors of  Maasai/Pastoralist Pasture Fed Beef market today is Australia. Kepaja Trust stated that “NRT is buying livestock from desperate #pastoralists at throwaway price that will make it appear like it’s an economic ambulance. But the whole idea is to de-stock, deplete our economic mainstay and reduce us to beggars while it creates space for #CONservancy!”

Apart from that NRT also aggressively wants to enter and control the beef market so that Kenyans will buy beef only from them – go to Nairobi and around the ‘sonko’ upmarket malls, and ask for Laikipian beef – you will be shocked at the prices. This information is kept away even from the locals who work within NRT, but I’ve been to those supermarkets and the price of Pasture Fed Beef is staggering.

Side CBO’s

Instead of European run leather industries like #Sandstorm Kenya  of whom

we cannot get access to their site from Kenya >> see this site: >>><<< “You cannot access this store from your country. We apologize for the inconvenience” – being run as CBO’s within the conservations, our own youth can learn from our own brothers, sisters and elders. Borana women, the Maasai, Samburu, Somali and others have

knowledge on how to make exquisite soft leather products which are admired to date around the world – soft leather boots, handbags, stools, polished jewelry and beads from bones, horns, hooves and cow-and camel teeth, instead of those horrid imported plastic chinese beads. Women can also

teach their children to make glue from hooves, creating many small leather industries extraordinaire scattered across Isiolo, eg good leather wool -lined climbing boots for tourists who come to climb Mount Kenya.

Perchance the refusal to selling cattle for a while when introducing the spaces for new markets and growing herds, communities may be a little poorer for maybe 6 to 9 months but in the end shall be the better.

  1. Meanwhile,

stop signing contracts with NRT for there is a [CON] in [Tract] which is always for the person who writes it, and instead begin a process where business men draw up their own buyer/seller agreement.  Namibia’s beef market for instance has grown and they now sell beef to the USA – nothing is impossible for the Northland nomads, they just have to select which battles to fight, and which to drop.