Agriculture and in livestock sub-sector, is an important contributor to the overall Kenyan economy. Recent statistics estimate that the sub-sector accounts for approximately 10% of the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (30% of the agricultural GDP) and employs about 50% of the national agricultural labour force. Majority of the Kenyan communities have keep livestock for food, transport, draught, prestige, and as capital assets as a long time tradition. In addition, communities depend on their animals for other cultural needs such as paying bridal price and performing traditional ceremonies. Among the main breeds kept are the East Africa Zebu, the Boran cattle, East Africa goats, the Galla goats, Red Maasai sheep, Black Head Somali sheep. The National census of 2009 showed that Kenya’s animal resource base comprised of 17.5 million cattle, 27.7 million goats, 17 million sheep, 3 million camels, 31.8 million domestic birds, 1.8 million donkeys and an undetermined number of companion, game and aquatic animal (KNBS, 2010). Ruminants (cattle, sheep and goats) were reared mainly for four functions, namely; meat, milk, skin and wool according to order of importance (FAO, 1986).
It has been estimated that about 14% of livestock in developing countries at some point are infected with one or more zoonoses and that each infection reduces their productivity by around 10% (Grace, 2013). FAO has estimated that the value of livestock production to USD 639 billion per year in developing countries, thus the loss may be estimated. The human health costs of zoonoses are typically equal or greater than livestock sector losses(World Bank, 2012). With a burgeoning of population, there is increased demand for sources of animal protein and with intrusion into forests, thus worsening the already alarming situation. Africa will need a twofold meat production in order to meet protein needs of the growing population by mid-21st Century (Alexandratos & Bruinsma, 2012). It is well known that over 60% of Emerging Infectious Diseases (EIDs) are zoonotic in nature and that 70% of the zoonotic EIDs come from wildlife (Jones et al., 2008). The apparent risk for EIDs from wildlife sources continues to pose a challenge across Africa.
Food borne diseases in the value chain from farm-to-fork are universal public health problems and the implications are great including health and economic losses (Le Loir et al., 2003). Food borne diseases or food poisonings are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an illness or diseases of infectious or toxic nature caused by the consumption of foods or water contaminated with bacteria and/or their toxins, parasites, viruses, or chemicals. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that in developed countries, up to 30% of the population suffers from food borne diseases each year, whereas in developing countries up to 2 million deaths are estimated per year (WHO, 2015). Many diseases are communicable and caused by micro-organisms that enter into the body via food.
One of the major challenges that could limit full realization of benefits of this expanded market opportunity by livestock farmers is disease. Zoonotic diseases are caused by a diverse group of pathogens that are transmissible from animals to humans. Seventy-five percent of all pathogens infectious to man including newly emergent infections are of zoonotic origin (Jones et al., 2008). The emergent pathogens can often be traced back to ecosystem changes associated with expanding human populations, food insecurity, and unsustainable use of natural resources, all of which result in biodiversity loss and changes to ecosystem function (Mazet et al., 2014).
It is estimated that over 60% of meat consumed in Kenya is beef with Nairobi city being the major consumption hub (Kenya Market Trust, 2014). Several factors can influence the occurrence of microbes in meat. After slaughtering, meat can be contaminated by microorganisms from water, air, and soil, as well as from the workers and equipment involved in the processing. In the later processing steps of the fresh meat chain (i.e., handling, cutting, and storage), abiotic factors such as temperature, gaseous atmosphere, pH, and NaCl levels select for certain bacteria, allowing colonization of the meat surface by different spoilage-related species and strains (De Filippis et al., 2013). Many factors may contribute as sources of contamination of carcasses along the chain of slaughter, including the animal’s skin and dung, equipment such as machines and cutting tools, an unhygienic environment, non-compliance with proper slaughter processes, and a lack of personal hygiene (Kh et al., 2012). Contamination of meat with microbes starts early in the process, originating from the hides and intestines of animals, and is transferred to the carcass during slaughter (Bell, 1997). Risks associated with the consumption of contaminated meat and meat products can be reduced by implementing systematic controls from farm-to-fork. Recognizing the role and potential benefits of ruminant production for food security and economic empowerment for pastoralists in Kajiado County, Kenya, the County government of Kajiado have elaborate projects to promote local ruminant production and improve thier incomes in the region. For instance, in their study, (Cook et al., 2017) found that majority of slaughterhouse workers own livestock and a number of workers have a second occupation, predominantly in other aspects of the meat production industry, including as farmers or butchers, and are therefore exposed to animals and meat products outside the slaughterhouse. This therefore, increased exposure may act as a source of infection or a potential for dissemination since these activities are independently associated with disease exposure.
There has been an alarmingly increase in drug resistance to frequently used antimicrobial agents in human and animal production is a public health challenge globally (O’neill, 2016). Currently, the world health organization has reported high levels of antimicrobial resistance, indicating a strong correlation with the scale of antibiotic consumption (WHO, 2017)). The role of livestock in the emergence and dissemination of both antimicrobial resistance (AMR) bacteria and their resistance determinants to humans is poorly understood and controversial ((Marshall & Levy, 2011)(Woolhouse et al., 2015). Various studies have suggested that AMR bacteria and their AMR determinants can be transmitted from food animals to humans via direct contact and/or through animal products (Howells & Joynson, 1975) (Aminov & Mackie, 2007)(Jakobsen et al., 2010); (Overdevest et al., 2011); (Kluytmans et al., 2013). The reports have indicated high antibiotic resistance levels in Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus and Streptococcus among other bacterial diseases. Nevertheless, other factors like suboptimal treatments, self-prescriptions, drug non adherences, have also promoted development of drug resistance (Dar et al., 2016).
This study aimed to map out livestock value chains and the disease risks and their implication to pastoral livelihoods in Kajiado County, Kenya.
Within the context of susceptibility due to climate change, not investing enough in the health and productivity of livestock and plants, particularly will result in poorer control of diseases and reduced productivity thus leading to food insecurity and livelihoods and ultimately impacting on human health (Queenan et al., 2017). Creating healthy conditions in one health approach for community livelihoods can mitigate key threats to public health and agricultural biosecurity while facilitating environmental stewardship. Misuse of the antibiotics in the farms during production processes plays a role in the development of anti-microbial resistance along the food chain.
The overarching hypothesis was that there was a significant burden on human health that results from the ownership and consumption of livestock and their products in Kajiado County.
1. What were the important structures in the value chains – slaughterhouses, markets, input supplies in Kajiado County?
2. What were the constraints to the livelihoods in the value chain?
3. What were the grazing patterns for the pastoralists?
4. What variety of antibiotics that were commonly used in the farms and farmers’ attitudes around observing withdrawal periods?
5. What were the governance issues around these chains other food borne risk practices?
6. What kind of products and by-products from the farming systems and where were they sold?
7. To what extent were livestock keepers aware of antimicrobial resistance in Kajiado County in Kenya?