The Government has been urged to revise the high taxes on raw hides and skins meant for export.
The Kenya Veterinary Association (KVA) wants Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett to review the 90 per cent export tariff, saying it has negatively affected the local prices of leather.
The association’s chairman, Samuel Kahariri, said the tax, which was meant to protect the country’s factories and discourage the export of raw hides and skins, has been counterproductive.
He asked the CS to allow the export of excess raw leather until factories have the capacity to buy hides and skins all over the country.
“The new tariffs have seen the prices of hides go to as low as Sh5, causing great losses to farmers and traders, while stores are full,” he said.
Dr Kahariri, who was speaking at the weekend, also urged the Government to strategise on how to protect livestock farmers from heavy losses.
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Among others, he said, the Government should address the fluctuating prices of animals and animal products and the illegal importation of such products.
“The Government must fast-track the establishment and maintenance of marketing infrastructure for livestock and their products in line with international standards,” he said.
Kahariri noted that the sector faces unique challenges such as inadequate technical support and unfair trade competition due to illegal livestock product imports.
“This has seen livestock farming communities, which form more than 75 per cent of the population, gradually being condemned to poverty,” he said.
To address the challenges, the KVA chairman called on the national and county governments to employ more veterinarians.
He suggested that 500 veterinary surgeons and 1,000 veterinary paraprofessionals be hired.