Each Kenyan devours 15.5 kilos of meat annually but it is mainly low- and middle-class Kenyans who really know their meat and butchers

Study finds out that Kiambu is the slaughterhouse of Kenya. (Youth Village Kenya)
  • Despite their humble pay, Kenyan middle- and low-income homes are more likely to eat meat than their better-off counterparts, according to a new report.
  • The reports show that Nairobi residents consume two kilos more compared to their counterparts in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kajiado, Eldoret, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Makueni, Kakamega and Garissa.
  • Average beef production in Kenya was estimated at more than 408,000 tonnes per annum with 70% coming from zebu cattle population found in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs).

The Kenyan meat industry would not be what it is today without the taste and appetite of the country’s middle- and low-income earners.

Despite their humble pay, Kenyan middle- and low-income homes are more likely to eat meat than their better-off counterparts, according to a new report.

According to the Meat End Market Trends in Kenya study by Kenya Market Trust (KMT), even though high-income households have the capacity to buy more meat due to their financial muscle, middle and low-income segments, due to demographics, remain the largest buyers of meat.

“Middle-and low-income consumers spend more on food with meat being one of the key components in their menu. The two categories prefer buying meat from the estate and rural butcheries while the rich prefer malls and supermarkets.” said the report’s lead author Boniface Kaberia.

The countrywide study, conducted between July and November last year and launched by Livestock Principal secretary Harry Kimtai last week shows that average per capita consumption of red meat in Kenya is about 15.5 kilograms with an annual production of about 600,000 tonnes.

Average beef production was estimated at more than 408,000 tonnes per annum with 70% coming from zebu cattle population found in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) while the remaining 30 % comes from rejects.

The reports show that Nairobi residents consume two kilos more compared to their counterparts in Mombasa, Nakuru, Kajiado, Eldoret, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kisumu, Makueni, Kakamega and Garissa.

But it is in Kiambu County that more cattle, poultry and rabbit were slaughtered than any other county.

Red meat – comprising beef, mutton, goat and camel meat – accounts for more than 80% of all the meat consumed in the country while white meat from poultry and pork accounts for about 19% of the meat consumed.

Furthermore, consumers in the low-income segment, eat more fish as compared to red meat, the study showed.

Omena (silvery sardine-like fish) and fish are the most loved due to the fact that they can be stretched to feed more people than the smallest units of red meat.

Butcheries operating in the low-income segments are the ones making a killing since they sell meat in small portions and according to the financial need of the earners. Across high, middle and low-income segments majority consume meat at least once a week.

According to the Ministry of Livestock, Kenya livestock population stands at 3.3 million exotic cattle, 14.1 million indigenous cattle, 17.1 million sheep, 27.7 million goats, 2.9 camels, 1.8 million donkeys and 31.8 million poultry.

“Despite the seemingly abundant meat and consumer markets, Kenya is meat deficient to the tune of 300,000 tonnes, a shortage that makes it hard to satisfy meat demand, leading to importation from neighbouring countries,” said KMT chief executive Kamau Kuria.

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