Laikipia’s rangelands are conducive environments for beef production. The county is a leading producer of Boran cattle in Kenya reputed for quality beef.
Over the past four years, the number of livestock has increased tremendously.
According to the Laikipia County Statistical Abstract 2021, the number of beef cattle has increased from 201,200 in 2017 to 232,848 in 2020 with their value after slaughter increasing from Ksh. 441.7 million to Ksh. 746.8 million within the same period.
This can be attributed to increasing linkages between fodder producers to livestock keepers within and outside the county.
The county government has also ensured its residents benefit from livestock keeping through a partnership with Kenya Meat Commission (KMC). The reintroduction of livestock rail transport wagons from Nanyuki station to the Kenya Meat Commission slaughterhouse in Athi River is also a major motivation to livestock keepers.
KMC provides farmers with a ready market for their beef cattle and transportation with a railway ensures farmers save on transport costs. Modernized marketing strategy has helped pastoralists in Olmoran, Kimanju, Doldol, and Rumuruti to have links with the National Livestock Marketing Information System in order to provide a ready market for their livestock without the need for brokers and expensive intermediaries.
To help promote more livestock production, the county government has encouraged pastoralists to get involved in modern technology such as feedlots which have been effective to some farms including Wargus Feedlot, Nanyuki Ranching, Ngera Farm and Synergetic Limited.
Livestock keeping in Laikipia County has boosted other businesses such as the leather industry through production of hides and skin as a by-product, the milk processing industries which have increased from 11 to 16 from 2019 to 2020 and meat production industries from 3 to 6 in the same years.
The Laikipia County Statistical Abstract 2021 indicates that 21,337 kilograms of hides and skin were produced in 2020.
Another sector that benefitted from livestock keeping is crop farming where improvement of crop production is feasible from manure.
Manure from livestock assists in crop growth, land productivity, and improvement of soil structure as well as water retention.
The county remained to be proficient in livestock production and still seeks strategies on how to maintain its competency in the ever-expanding income earner.