A five years innovation journey bears fruit. The Tamboul Slaughterhouse Innovation Plan in Sudan.

By Vivienne Likhanga and IFAD Sudan Country Office  

From the design to the implementation of the Innovation Plan presented during the learning route on “Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa”, held in Kenya in March 2012.

Some of the participants from the LR on Livestock Marketing that was held in Kenya in March 2012
Five years ago a group of 22 participants from 6 countries (Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, the USA and Europe) gathered to learn about access to markets and to identify value chain upgrading opportunities in the livestock sector. They did this through the Learning Route: Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa. The learning route that took place between the 28th of February and 10th of March 2012, was piloted in Kenya with the collaboration of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) Division and the technical support of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA) with a view of reducing knowledge gaps on livestock marketing systems and management.

Innovation Plan follow-up and update

Five years after the 2012 learning route, its benefit is visible, particularly in one of the IFAD funded project in Sudan: the Butana Integrated Rural Development Project (BIRDP) that now is ready and well prepared to implement the Tamboul Slaughterhouse Innovation Plan as designed by the BIRDP participants who took part in the Learning Route on Livestock Marketing in Kenya (2012). This Innovation Plan was particularly drawn from the best practices at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian, Kenya.

Unfortunately, the implementation of the ambitious slaughterhouse plan as designed by BIRDP participants who participated in the learning route on livestock marketing in Kenya (2012) lagged behind due to difficulties in adequate involvement of the private actors (formal and informal butchers), commitment of the relevant administrative unit not fulfilled and time constraints as effective facilitation requires time, consistency and skills.

As part of the follow-up activities foreseen in the Learning Route, it was decided to hold a learning activity in Kiserian and Amboseli, Kenya, in which selected participants and key stakeholders of the BIRDP Tamboul Slaughterhouse project would share their opportunities and constraints with implementing their Innovation Plan, as well as get further insights on the improvement and potential partnerships for the implementation of their Innovation Plans. The learning activity was held between the 29th January and 3rd February 2017 in Kenya. 
Participants begin their learning activity journey at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse office in Kiserian, Kenya

The 10 visiting participants came from different sectors building a team of 3 government officials, 4 staff members of the BIRDP and 3 from the private sector (butchers).

The specific objectives of the follow up learning activity were as follows:
  1. Reflect on the February 2012 Learning Route visit to Keekonyokie slaughterhouse (achievements, lessons learnt and experiences);
  2. Identify key knowledge needs of the BIRDP team based on the lessons learnt during implementation of the IPs in order to align the learning process with these needs;
  3. Facilitate practical learning sessions using the Keekonyokie and Mbirikani Slaughterhouses to address the knowledge needs; and to
  4. Develop Innovation Plans and practical action plans following the learning.
A participatory approach in collaboration with IFAD BIRDP project was applied in the planning and implementation of the follow up learning activity with enhanced involvement of the participants. A team of local champions were identified in the two case studies (Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian and the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli) and sensitized on the concept and learning objectives of the activity. In each of the slaughterhouses, selected champions presented different operational areas of a slaughterhouse. Key actors in the meat value chain facilitated discussions between the hosts and the visiting team. A mix of technical experiences and knowledge management practices responded to the knowledge needs of the visiting participants.
Participants at the livestock market learning about the Livestock value chain
The learning activity involved two main knowledge approaches: first, a visit to the slaughterhouses to see and learn first-hand about all operational activities from the main actors through step by step guidance. The second approach interactive plenary discussions between the local champions, technical experts and the visiting team, thus a nearly non-stop learning activity with intensive 3 field based learning days and a wrap up meeting on the 4th day.

On the first two days of the learning activity the participants visited the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse in Kiserian, to observe the practical operations of the slaughterhouse during the peak period of operations. They also studied the physical infrastructure and the drainage system of the slaughterhouse during its off-peak sessions. The participants held interviews with some of the actors in the market system including pastoralists, meat traders, live animal traders, slaughterhouse supervisors and biogas plan operators. Follow up workshops sessions brought together the local champions from Keekonyokie slaughterhouse, the technical experts and the visiting team from Sudan for closing some knowledge gaps in a question and answer session. The participants had an opportunity to elaborate the entire market system and how it operated.

The Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse is a private company owned by 16 shareholders who elect 7 board members every year. The board members include the chairman, the secretary, treasurer, managing director, supervisor, biogas departmental head and slaughterhouse departmental head. The Company has by laws that are used to govern the company

The business model applied in the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse involves the provision of a slaughter facility and all the associated slaughter services to traders who supply meat to the Nairobi market and its environs. In addition, it has a live animal market where live animal sellers who bring livestock from the pastoral areas of southern rangelands of Kenya and Northern Tanzania meet meat traders who buy live animals, slaughters and markets meet to end users. Other business lines include packaging of biogas for commercial use which is yet to be marketed after government has formulated a policy to guide biogas marketing in Kenya.

On The third day of the learning activity the participants visited the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli. The participants had a guided tour of the slaughterhouse and thereafter discussions with the main actors and experts in order to address their question on the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse market system and value chain. 
Unlike the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse which is a privately owned company, the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was constructed by the County Government of Kajiado, Kenya and later finished by the African Wildlife Foundation as a support to the Amboseli Livestock Marketing Association (ALMA). ALMA is a community Based Organization that brings together group ranches and women groups in the Amboseli as a structure to enhance market access by the community. The entire facility was set up as a conservation enterprise to help minimize conflicts between wildlife and the pastoralists and develop a sustainable model through which livestock marketing activities are liked to conservation of natural resources. After completion, the slaughterhouse was jointly owned by the community through ALMA and the County Government which necessitated registration of the company called Amboseli Meat Company (AMC) with the county government owning 60% of the shares and ALMA 40%. Through a competitive bidding process, the AMC contracted a private company called Food Tech to manage the company’s operations through a profit sharing arrangement. A comprehensive management contract exists that stipulates the role of each partner in the operations of the business. The profit sharing arrangement involves Food Tech taking 69% of the profit, AMC 30% and 1% of the profit is used for CSR. The company is relatively young and at the start-up phase, hence not much business volumes were reported.

The company is implementing two business models. In the first model the company buys live animals from the Groups affiliated to ALMA slaughters and markets the meat. In the second model, the company undertakes contract slaughtering i.e. getting a contract to slaughter for a client at a fee of KES 1,100 per cow.

Key taken-home lessons by the participants

There were several lessons learnt by the participants among them the following:

  • Private sector players are important anchors in a livestock market system: Public, private, producer / community Partnerships 
  • The informal sector can regulate itself however there is the usefulness of engagement with governments for favourable operating environment 
  • Technology and Innovation in waste management through the production of biogas and fertilizers 
  • The importance of proper sewerage system and an in-house source of constant water supply 
  • Drought mitigation strategies 
  • Gender Inclusion in Livestock marketing 
  • Linking livestock production and marketing with conservation 
  • Proximity to consumer markets 
  • The operational costs and risks of holding Inventory 
The participants’ main interest of importance in the Mbirikani slaughterhouse case study was the ownership and management structure of the slaughterhouse and the shareholding and the management of contracts.

The participants observed that the Mbirikani slaughterhouse in Amboseli has a similar background with the Tamboul slaughterhouse where support is coming from the government and a donor. As such the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was a perfect case for the team to learn about private public producer (community) partnership arrangements being used to manage the slaughterhouse, noting that it would be the most appropriate approach that would enhance ownership, sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time enhancing livelihoods of different value chain actors. The Mbirikani slaughterhouse also presented knowledge on gender integration in the meat value chain. The slaughterhouse provides opportunities for women by allowing them to use slaughterhouse by-products (bones, hides, skins and horns) to make artefacts for sale, the women are also involved in fodder and fodder seed production and in livestock trade. The ALMA promotes their businesses through market access and they also gave them an opportunity to run a food canteen and money transfer facility at the slaughterhouse which supplements the women’s income and livelihood.

As a way forward for the Tamboul slaughterhouse, the participants agreed to consult further with the key stakeholders of the Tamboul Slaughterhouse in order to determine what would be the appropriate ownership and management structure. As observed, what drives the business of the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse though privately owned, is that it is fully owned by the community of pastoralists (live animal traders and meat traders) in Southern Kenya and Northern Kenya. The participants noted that it was important to apply a public-private producer partnership model that would enhance the sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time ensuring that mechanisms are put in place for community ownership. 
Certificate Presentation at the end of the learning activity
For more information on the innovation plans implemented and the learning materials from the activity, kindly visit Procasur website.