Value addition is the process of producing and manufacturing end consumable products through the use of raw material. Some of the most used raw material in the work includes agricultural products like fruits and grains as well as animal products like meat and skin.
African countries for a long time have been the main suppliers of raw material for industries in Europe and America. These raw materials are used to make end products that are shipped back to the same African countries and sold at high prices.
In Kenya; the upper eastern region is known for the production of high-quality cereals, fruits, and vegetables. The lower parts of the region have the best cattle, sheep, and goats, the residents of the two zones have similar economic challenges simply because their products have the least value when it comes to economics.
The livestock keepers in Isiolo Marsabit and Samburu lament over the same issues with the crop farmers in Meru, Tharaka Nithi, and Embu.
When the national government initiated a process of opening a fruit factory in Meru, there was joy and jubilation, but this was short-lived since the residents have not seen any signs of such an investment in the Meru region.
The project of putting up an Abattoir in Isiolo County is ongoing but the livestock keepers in the region have not tasted the goodness of the project from the simple fact that it is not open.
According to Relief Web International, the upper eastern counties have the highest number of cattle, sheep, goats, and camel when compared to other parts of the country.
A good example is Marsabit County, where the latest survey indicated that the county has over 424,000 cattle, 1 million sheep, 1.2 million goats, and over 50,000 chicken.
Meru, Embu, and Tharaka Nithi produce hundreds of tons of fruits and cereals that are sold in raw form to traders in the country and others exported. The producers of this; good quality essential products are left in anguish poverty. Their lives are turned upside down where buyers dictate the selling price to maximize profits and leave the farmer in a desperate corner.
Factors that affect and propel the crop farmers to sell their products at throwaway prices include the perishability of the produce and lack of an organized system of marketing their produce.
The case of the pastoralists in the arid and semi-arid regions is even worse, where because of poverty and lack of modern social structures, factors like insecurity and bad climate have greatly affected them negatively.
The best time to address this was ten years ago and the other best time is now.
Let our community leaders wake up and remind the government and other stakeholders that the producers are suffering and they can easily give up if prompt measures are not taken to reverse the trend.